Speakers at Latin

Emily Bernhardt               Whether you find speakers at gathering to be exciting or dreadfully boring, anyone at Latin must admit that our school does a fantastic job of finding new people to present their ideas and opinions. Around every month, we hear from professionals outside of our school community, but who is responsible for their presence? Surprisingly, many of these decisions are made by students, such as those of the Diversity and Equity Committee. With the help of Ms. Denevi, the Diversity and Equity Committee contacted Dave Zirin, our most recent guest at Latin. They selected him because of his “social justice viewpoint on the pop culture topic of sports”.              “We believed that the Latin community would appreciate the social justice perspective on how race affects our perception of players, as well as derogatory team names and mascots,” the committee states. Mr. Zirin received relatively positive feedback from students. While one freshman said that she “liked the speaker,” Margo Williams added that, “the topic was good but it could’ve been conveyed in less time.” Either way, the overall message that the Diversity and Equity committee wanted to get across was received: “it is important for us to understand thatif we are rooting for the Washington Redskins [and many other American sports teams], we are inadvertently supporting Native American cultural appropriation”.               Latin’s teachers also played a huge role in deciding the presentations at our school this year, especially Ms McCarthy and Mr Tebbens. After an idea is proposed, the upper school deans have a meeting to discuss potential speakers and the importance or relevance of their discussions. Special guests are also brought in for particular events, such as Lit Fest a couple weeks ago.  Mr Tempone and Mr Lombardo took part in organizing the visit of three different authors – Jude Stewart, Aviya Kushner, and Kevin Young.                 Regardless of how they are chosen, many students appreciate the effort that the Latin community puts in to provide fresh opinions and ideas through discussion. Hannah Perlman believes that this is an “important part of the Latin experience”. She continues that “Although it is important to learn about integrals, it is also important to understand the difficult issues confronting society today because we are soon going to be the ones solving them”. Speakers at Latin allow both students and teachers to give thought to new concepts that that aren’t often mentioned inside the classroom. However, they still are relevant to our lives and the world that we live in today.]]>