In December of 2020, Marquese Ward-Morning ’21, Travon Monlyn ’21, and DeAndre Williams ’23 proudly represented Trinity-Pawling at the 2020 Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Hosted annually by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the conference is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of student leaders from across the United States and abroad. Although the conference could not be held in person this year, the virtual group discussions and workshops were enlightening and dynamic — focused on allyship, reflection, social justice, and building community in a diverse world.
We caught up with Marquese, Travon, and DeAndre for a Q&A to learn more about their experiences at the virtual conference.
Q: What brought you the most joy during the conference?
A: What brought me the most happiness was the fact that nobody was uncomfortable with the conversations. They were all willing to ask questions and listen to the answers to find out how they can help to make their school a better and more accepting place. It’s our turn to try to fix things. We don’t want sympathy…we want allyship.
Q: What is one standout lesson you learned at the conference?
A: At the conference, there were so many other students who understand and have gone through the same things that we do. I liked the sense of belonging. It took me some time to open up and find my voice, but I also learned that sometimes it’s better to just listen. Hearing people out is important, especially before making pre-judgements.
Q: What was the most rewarding part of your experience?
A: I’d say the most rewarding part was meeting new people and hearing how they have gone through a lot of the same things that I go through on a daily basis. It was great to hear so many other points of view. It made me open up and I learned the importance of trying to see things from a different perspective.
Thank you, Marquese, Travon, and DeAndre for your continued efforts to keep the conversations going, spread kindness and acceptance, and truly make a difference at Trinity-Pawling, and beyond!
by Emma Christiantelli