Over the weekend, Tampa Prep was buzzing with energy as students, faculty, parents and administrators from six Central Florida independent schools gathered for the second annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLCx).

Bay Area schools wanted to provide those faculty and students who were not able to attend the national conference with the opportunity to be a part of some of the important discussions held there. Over the past year, the Central Florida Diversity Cohort was created. The Cohort connected with Dr. Barbara Hodges, Executive Director of the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), and has received the full support of FCIS. The SDLCx is a local model of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) SDLC and the NAIS People of Color Conference.

This year's theme was "Developing Roots through Strong Alliances" which focused on providing an opportunity for students and adults to engage in community-building conversations and activities that provided a greater understanding of a variety of complex issues.

Following a warm welcome from Tampa Prep Head of School Kevin Plummer, participants listened to an amazing panel of students from five different schools. They spoke about their experience at the national conference and how it helped them rise to the challenge of being leaders within their communities. Tampa Prep alumnus Keith Bailey '98, discussed his experience as one of four African American students at an affluent, predominately white institution and, subsequently, his transition to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a historically black university.

For many students, the most intriguing discussions of the day included racial identity within the school environment and society at large as well as peer-led racial/ethnic identity affinity group discussions. During these discussions the adults had their own break-out session, led by our very own Elle Ashworth. The day concluded with some self-reflection and affirmations.

To learn more about the Cohort or how Tampa Prep is engaging its students and faculty in the conversation, please contact Ms. Enaye Englenton or Mr. Donald Morrison.