What a wonderful event the Student Diversity Leadership Committee (SDLC) sponsored on Saturday evening! The International Dinner, which has been an annual event at Sewickley Academy for nearly two decades, provides an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and parents to come together to celebrate the many and varied contributions of all members of our community. Beginning with an amazing dinner, served by student volunteers in the Middle and Senior School Cafeteria, this year’s meal boasted dishes from India and Ireland, from Greece and China, and from the American South. Nearly 270 guests arrived hungry to sample tastes from around the world, and they were not disappointed. Everything was delicious and in abundant supply!
The dinner was followed by presentations in Rea Auditorium by a variety of the Senior School’s cultural groups, sharing music and dance and stories – providing a wonderful view into the rich tapestry of backgrounds and experiences that, together, make our school the dynamic, interesting, creative, and vibrant place it is. For me, the most moving part of the evening came at the end when all the students, from every ethnic, racial, cultural, and national background stood together to proclaim, each in turn and then in unison, “We are Sewickley Academy.” This was a powerful affirmation of our school’s identity – and our nation's! “E Pluribus Unum,” out of many one!
While each identity has something unique, distinct, and wonderful to add to the tapestry of our school, none is required to efface itself to be part of who we are. That, of course, is the great strength of a community and country like ours. We come from different places, with different experiences, different backgrounds, and different stories, but only together do we make up the whole. Our school and our nation could not be the strong, vibrant, and dynamic communities that we are without the strength of our different stories bound together in a shared commitment to a common set of values and principles. For the United States, these are enshrined in our founding documents; for our school they are articulated in our Mission and Core Values.
I have attended the International Dinner for fourteen years now, and the turn-out on Saturday was the most robust I can ever recall. The joy, the respect, and the mutual regard reflected among the attendees and the volunteers and in each element of the evening served as a powerful reminder of the strength of our community and the pleasure we can take from one another’s company when we come together to acknowledge and celebrate all that makes us great.
There are too many students and parents who contributed to the success of the evening to recognize here, but it is important to single out Mia Krohn, the President of SDLC, for her leadership and organization of this wonderful event. While literally dozens of people contributed to the success of the International Dinner, Mia deserves our thanks and the credit for keeping her classmates organized and on track. Well done!