St. Andrew's 2022 Spring Magazine

Page 36

ISABELLA DODRO ‘22

BELONGING AT ST. ANDREW’S

“When I first arrived on the St. Andrew’s campus in 2018, I didn’t see a lot of people that looked like me. It concerned me that there was only one teacher of color in the Upper School. This was extremely different from the public school I attended prior to seventh grade, which had faculty of color and religions from around the world. I was hesitant about the transition, but as I look back on my high school experience I know I made the right choice coming to St. Andrew’s. I am proud to be part of this family. The community of Black and Brown people has grown immensely – both students and faculty. This makes me extremely hopeful for future Lions. Learning in a community which makes me feel welcomed and appreciated allowed me to grow into the student and person I strive to be. In the future, I dream that every student will see a member of the faculty that looks like them, and who can be their role models and mentors. I have felt fortunate to have this experience the last couple of years. I challenge St. Andrew’s to diversify faculty to help students feel more comfortable in their daily school lives on campus. I also hope to see my school take more risks when it comes to speaking out and educating students about different national and world issues regarding race, gender, and religion, regardless of any possible backlash they may face. It is important to minority students and families at St. Andrew’s to see that our school cares about real world issues that affect students from marginalized cultures in their day-to-day lives. It is important that the leadership of our school keeps learning and growing bold in creating safe space for our inclusive family. I do see St. Andrew’s making progress in hiring more faculty who look like me and other minority students. This gives me hope for the future. I look forward to coming back as an alumna to see the faculty fully diversified in the coming years. Be bold, Lions!”

CHRIS QUINTERO ‘14 “Attending St. Andrew’s while on financial aid was initially a culture shock for me. My classmates would talk about things that were completely foreign to me, like the concept around owning a vacation home or having multiple cars. The dress code was also a daily visual reminder for me of the differences as many of my classmates wore expensive brands like Vineyard Vines that I had never heard of before. And being the only Latino in my grade made that difference even more stark from a cultural perspective. So, it was hard for me to initially connect with my classmates. This could have been a situation where I would feel ostracized and feel like I needed to leave the school, but this never happened as the St. Andrew’s culture around inclusion really helped me with the transition. My teachers, school administrators, and classmates would always treat me like they did everyone else and anytime I faced any difficulties at school they would always be there to support me. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful to have had that support. That being said, after my seven years at St. Andrew’s I still remained as one of the few Latino students at the school, so I was never able to connect with many students who came from a similar background as me while I was a student there. However, all the progress that St. Andrew’s has made since then has been very encouraging to see, especially as St. Andrew’s acts as a leader among educational institutions in equity, diversity, and inclusion.” 34

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