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Students Attend First Ever Diversity Council

Adam Steiner, Editor-in-Chief

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On May 17, two students attended the first ever student-led Diversity Council of York County in a new effort to bring diversity to the school districts of York.

Juniors Colleen Nersten and Adam Steiner attended the council, along with adult representative Douglas Bryant.

Principal Heather Venne asked Steiner to consider being a part of the council, and to select one other junior to attend with him, which he picked Nersten.

“I chose Colleen to come to the Diversity Council because I felt that she would be able to take a lot away from it and would see it as a learning experience.”

This is the first time that the students of York County have had an opportunity to meet each other on the basis of sharing what each school district does to promote diversity.

The adult diversity council of York County started the student diversity council; they felt that a student-led council would bring new ideas to the table.

The York County School of Technology (YCST) hosted the council in its cafeteria due to its central location in the county.

The meeting started at approximately 6:15 p.m. when students briefly introduced themselves to the other students at their tables.

After this, Principal of Eastern York high school, Dr. Tim Mitzel, the overseer and founder of the program split students into random groups by assigning them a number and sending them to the corresponding table.

Once at the table, there were specific numbers at each seat, and whomever was number one remained at the table and recorded all information that students shared, Mitzel referred to them as the host. The host never left table.

Mitzel then gave students a series of discussion prompts, which included things like: “What does your district do to make itself more diverse and inclusive?”; “What would you like to see done at your district to include diversity?”; “How can you go about making this happen?”

The prompts were put up onto the projector for each table to complete.

“The program seemed to be very well-planned and achieved its goal of promoting discussion and conversation between students,” said Bryant.

Students spent about fifteen minutes discussing each prompt with their group. At the end of the discussion period, each table selected one student to share what the general ideas of the table were with the whole group.

After the sharing was done, students rotated to the next table and the next prompt was shown. This happened a total of three times.

“The Diversity Council was extremely eye opening. People from all different walks of life attended and every single person was willing to share the good in their school– and the bad. People were honest, and because of that, I would say it was successful and could turn into something really amazing,” said Nersten.

Adults were also grouped together on the other side of the cafeteria, and were also following the prompts and sharing with the whole group.

Once students rotated through all of the prompts, Mitzel ended the council with a short thank you. He then collected all of the notes from each table so that they could be gone through to determine what was talked about.

Students and adult representatives who attended the conference had a number of refreshments made available to them, including sandwiches, cookies, ethnic foods, and tea.

The organizers of the council sent an e-mail to the students who attended with a survey for feedback regarding the council for next year. The Mitzel did not announce the next meeting date, but it will be in September of this year.

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Students Attend First Ever Diversity Council