An Independent School • Grades 5-12

A cohort of Lakeside Upper School students recently attended the NAIS Online Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). The conference is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of high school student leaders from across the U.S. and abroad and focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Several attendees reflect on their experience below.

Noa R. ’22

There was so much to love about SDLC: from the impactful guest speakers to the thoughtful social justice curriculum, I finished the week with a renewed sense of community and new tools to aid me in DEI work. Despite the fact that it was virtual, we all connected with one another very quickly, particularly in affinity groups — this was the first time I had the opportunity to participate in a Jewish affinity space, where the sentiment of support and excitement that infused the conference was amplified. I believe what made SDLC so meaningful was the fact that it was a conference of teenagers with shared values of equity, justice, and kindness; this enabled us to engage in nuanced conversations about intersectionality and actively listened to each other’s experiences with their identities. I would highly recommend this experience to any Lakesider who wants to make a positive impact in the world. 

Michelle Y. ’23

SDLC offered an opportunity for me to come together with other students who were also interested in the topic of DEI and discuss ways we have noticed this topic coming up at our school, whether it's something we wanted to change or something we appreciated. My favorite part of SDLC was the affinity groups (I was in the AAPI affinity group) because it was such a welcoming and energy-filled space full of people with similar experiences as me. I made so many new friendships on that retreat and I anticipate being in touch with them for years to come.

Lincoln W. ’24

For affinity groups, it was an impactful and inspiring experience to be able to be in a place where I see others look like me but also relate to a lot of experiences as me too. The family groups sparked engaging conversations that will help me make a bigger impact in the places I live in. SDLC in general has challenged me to widen my perspective on myself and others. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the conference as I plan to enact change in my school, my community, and the world with this experience.

Iva D. ’22

SDLC has been one of the most insightful learning experiences of my life. The conversations I had with students from across the country have positively impacted my perspective towards life and have enhanced the way I approach diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through this experience, I have truly understood the importance of my identity and how it shapes my worldview. One of my most significant takeaways from this experience is “acknowledgement over ignorance.” I have learned the importance of acknowledging differences to understand and respect each other’s identity truly.