Carmel Catholic High School has always prided itself on being a place where all students can feel comfortable in their own skin, no matter their color, race, or cultural identification. The opening of a newly constructed Multi-Cultural Center last April has helped further the school’s mission, while providing an area for students to congregate, socialize, learn, and exist in an environment that values who they are.
And while it’s no secret that among the school’s many strengths is its ability to prepare its students for life after high school from a purely educational perspective, center Director Andrea Fitzpatrick gleams with pride, knowing that Carmel’s students are also well-equipped to enter the college ranks from an equity and inclusive standpoint as well.
In a time when diversity, equity and inclusion—or lack thereof— continue to make headlines, the timing seemed perfect for both Saturday’s symposium as well as Carmel’s Multi-Cultural Center.
“Both mirror what universities across the country are using to bring their student bodies closer together,” explains Mrs. Fitzpatrick. “We know that we want our Diversity and Equity Council to have a broader impact. We want to impact our school community but while everything within our walls is surely impacted, often nothing goes beyond that. Our mission is to spearhead change and we can start by hosting this symposium.”
The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a keynote address by Sam Rocha, associate professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, where he won the Killam Teaching Prize in 2019. Break-out sessions will then be followed by a musical performance by Rocha and time for questions and answers.
Rocha’s books and articles have also won several awards covering a range of topics including philosophy of education, curriculum and teaching, race and social justice, and the arts. In addition to his teaching and writing, Rocha is a performing and recording folk musician and the host of the popular podcast, Folk Phenomenology.
“My goal would be for the symposium to be an annual event, with different high schools taking turns to host,” adds Fitzpatrick. “Carmel is in a unique position because our students come from across Lake County. The topic of diversity, equity and inclusion is of great importance within all of our neighboring public high schools. I think we can really build something special here together—to collaborate with other schools on things we can do together to make the world the way God intended it to be.”