Summer with the Equity Club

Emma Tooley

“To know each student by name and need” is our district mission.  This summer, 22 students and adults went to St. Louis for a weekend of bonding, leadership, learning and growing together.

The groups represented at this retreat included the Student Equity Advisory Committee, the Black Coal and Roses Society (a mentoring program for teen girls designed to promote positive self-esteem and self-worth), the African American Leadership Club, and two junior school board members.

Starting off the trip, all students were told to give their cellphones to chief equity officer Mrs. Burrus. Parents were notified of this request and supportive of the rules for the trip.  This rule allowed students the ability to converse and get to know one another.

As stated by one attendee, by the end of the retreat he realized not having his phone provided him time to get to know his peers and he appreciated the rule.

The topics included in this retreat allowed students to learn more about each other, be vulnerable in topics around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and team-building.

A highlight of the weekend was a talent show where the adults and students shared crazy and entertaining fun!

Mrs. Burrus planned every minute of the day with engaging and hands-on learning activities.

The students all created an All About Me poster, shared it with peers, and their peers introduced each other to the group.

Mrs. Burrus supported the students in stretching their comfort zones by sharing about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging with a family at the hotel.

The students appreciated the support of Mrs. Boyd, Ms. Rouse, Mrs. Morehead and Mrs. Burrus. They provided a great learning experience that will carry on throughout this school year.

One of the biggest take-aways from the weekend was that each student recognized the need to continue conversations, build relationships and be accepting of all their peers.

The weekend culminated with a fun day at Six Flags.

This trip was just the beginning of what is to be expanded on and continued development of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Paducah Tilghman.