Catlin Gabel to Host Student-Led Diversity Leadership Conference for High School Students

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Press Release

Feb 11, 2004

For Immediate Release

Contact: Becky Kessler

(503) 297-1894, ext. 301

Catlin Gabel to Host Student-Led Diversity Leadership Conference for High School Students

Scheduled to attend: Jesuit, Madison, Wilson, LaSalle, Central Catholic, Lincoln, St. Mary’s, Portland Youth Builders, David Douglas, Centennial, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Grant, Jefferson, Southridge, Cleveland, Roosevelt, Oregon Episcopal School, and Evergreen(WA) School District

PORTLAND, Ore., February 11, 2004 —The Catlin Gabel School will host its second annual student-driven high school diversity conference, From Words to Action 2004, on February 20 and 21. Four-hundred students representing most Portland area high schools will engage in discussions on diversity-related topics and leadership training workshops. Organized and facilitated by students, the goal of the conference is to give young people the tools to take positive action in their schools. Nationally, From Words to Action is the only student-driven diversity conference of its kind.

On Friday, February 20, the workshop will open with a performance by Portland Taiko drummers. Students will break into small, student-led discussion groups, each focused on a different aspect of diversity: gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, intercultural understanding, adoption/family configuration, physical ability, or socioeconomic status. A section called ‘Diversity 101’ will offer an introduction to equity and social justice issues. After lunch, students will preview Spinning Into Butter, a play about racism at a small college directed and produced by Catlin Gabel students. Participants will regroup to report on their earlier discussions in a town-hall-style meeting. Friday evening, Catlin Gabel will host a BBQ dinner and a full performance of Spinning Into Butter.

On Saturday, February 21, the conference will focus on leadership training. Small groups will discuss strategies to combat intolerance including peer mediation, grassroots organizing in schools, service opportunities, and establishing ongoing student groups.

Tomoyo Nakamura, an exchange student from Yokohama City, Japan, who has been at Catlin Gabel for four years is helping organize the conference. Says Tomoyo: “The issue of diversity is important for high school students because in today’s world we are more and more likely to meet people with different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles. As future leaders, we have to be able to recognize the issues, speak our minds, and cooperate with people different from ourselves.”

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The Catlin Gabel School is an independent, co-educational day school, dedicated to student individuality, academic excellence, multiculturalism and lifelong 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.