An NYC Primer on Diversity and Inclusion Elicits Personal Stories, Reflections

The Groton School Alumni Association (GSAA) recently hosted a panel discussion in New York City about the latest efforts of the school’s diversity and inclusion initiative. In a question-and-answer period following the February 8 panel, alumni who graduated in years ranging from 1952 to 2015 shared their experiences with diversity and inclusion at Groton.
The event was part of an effort to “show alumni what Groton is like today,” said Director of Recent Graduate Relations Allison MacBride, noting that alumni may not realize the important diversity and inclusion efforts occurring within the Groton community.
The panel included Groton faculty and one recent graduate, Hugh Cecil ’15; all have been involved in diversity or affinity groups on campus.
Director of Diversity Sravani Sen-Das began the discussion by sharing the Diversity and Inclusion group’s history and its most recent community gatherings and speakers. She emphasized the importance of student involvement, from brainstorming ideas to leading small group discussions.
Next, Latin teacher Kate Dennison, the faculty advisor to the Groton Girls’ Alliance, spoke about the girls in the Form of 2015 who created the GGA because they wanted a place to talk about sexism. Senior Associate Director of Admission Cort Pomeroy then described the impact of affinity groups like the GGA and general diversity and inclusion efforts on Groton’s Admission Office. He also spoke about the work he does with the current mentors program.
Last to speak was Hugh Cecil ’15, who shared a student’s perspective of diversity and inclusion. He was in Mrs. Sen-Das’ class at the committee’s inception and often discussed issues and his desire to help build an inclusive school community in class. Hugh formally joined the initiative during his Sixth Form  year, when student positions in the Diversity and Inclusion Group were created.
The highlight of the night was the Q&A session that followed the panel. Alumni from the early 1970s to the  early 2000s, in particular women, stood up to share their frustrations as well as their excitement and praise for the school’s efforts to improve. According to Ms. Dennison, hearing past students of color talk about their experience at a time when Groton was first being integrated was “interesting and emotional.”
The GSAA hopes to share this important work with other groups of alumni, parents, and friends of Groton and involve more alumni.—Hadley Callaway ’17