Catlin Gabel School Hosts Portland’s First Student-Driven High School Diversity And Leadership Conference, 350 Students Expected To Attend

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Press Release

Mar 12, 2003

For Immediate Release

Contact: Langley Allbritton


Catlin Gabel School Hosts Portland’s First Student-Driven High School Diversity And Leadership Conference, 350 Students Expected To Attend

Jesuit, Madison, Wilson, LaSalle, Central Catholic, David Douglas, Centennial, Portland Youth Builders, Lincoln and Lake Oswego High School Confirmed; St. Mary’s, Jefferson, Southridge, Grant, Cleveland, Roosevelt, And Beaverton Expected To Attend

The Catlin Gabel School, dedicated to excellence in education, today announced it will host Portland’s first student-driven high school diversity conference, From Words To Action, on March 14 and March 15. Three hundred and fifty students from all over Portland will come together for two days to think independently, connect with each other and speak freely on topics including the racial divide, religious intolerance, socioeconomic issues, intercultural connections, and challenges faced by gay and lesbian youth in schools.

The rigorous workshop, designed and implemented by participating students, aims to empower and encourage youth to think about how they can make a positive difference in the communities in which they live.

On Friday, March 14th, every student has an opportunity to contribute, each will be assigned to an “Action Group” and provided a topic to discuss, which focuses on Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Intercultural Understanding, and Socioeconomic concerns. In addition, students who would like an introduction to diversity issues may also choose Diversity 101, an introduction to issues of equity and social justice. During the Action Group phase of the conference, students and adults will be led through a series of questions by facilitators to discuss problems, share ideas, and arrive at solutions. For the most part, specific groups will create their own questions about issues relating to their Action Group to bring back to their schools. After lunch, students will report back their findings to the entire group and have a town hall-type meeting, called Critical Response.

Special guests:

Chicora Martin, Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender education at the University of Oregon, will deliver the first keynote address. Martin will address gender identity, multiple identity, multiethnic/queer identity, oppression and privilege, ally building and body image. She currently sits on the board of the American College Personnel Association’s Standing Committee for LGBT Concerns and serves as one of the National Association of Student Personal Administrator Regional Knowledge Community Chair for LGBT Issues.

Johnny Lake, an adjunct professor at Willamette University and certified national trainer in gender equality and multiculturalism, will deliver the second keynote. Lake’s speech will focus on addressing the institutional nature of racism, prejudice and discrimination in our society. He will also address equity issues in the classroom related to gender and achievement.

On Saturday, March 15th, student leaders will be invited to attend a special diversity leadership conference that begins at 9:30 a.m. at Catlin Gabel. Students will then be divided into three smaller groups to discuss topics including Diversity Leadership, Global Leadership and Facilitative Leadership. After an hour lunch break, students will participate in a leadership roundtable discussion with community leaders.

Workshop Schedule:

Friday, March 14, Student Diversity Conference, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Friday, March 14, Student Diversity Conference Dance, 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 15, Student Leadership Workshop, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Catlin Gabel School, including the faculty, staff, and Trustee committee on diversity, The Ubuntu Council, is hosting the entire conference. The Ubuntu Council has planned this conference with the aid of SPEED/Ujima, the high school’s student diversity group, Catlin Gabel Student Association, and SAFE, the gay-straight student alliance. For more information, please visit the Catlin Gabel School Web site at

About Catlin Gabel

Catlin Gabel School is an independent, co-educational day school, dedicated to student individuality, academic excellence, multiculturalism and life-long learning. The school’s dynamic pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade curriculum combines academics with arts, physical education and a strong sense of community service. Catlin Gabel is independently governed by a Board of Trustees and is not supported by tax or church monies. For more information, please visit