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Good Global Citizens

Yesterday, Dr. Derrick Gay (www.derrickgay.com), internationally recognized consultant on issues of global citizenship, diversity, and inclusion, returned to Saint David's to lead our seventh and eighth graders in an hour-long workshop on global citizenship.

After introducing himself and framing the workshop for the boys during morning Chapel, Dr. Gay examined ways in which our perceptions of the world and its citizens have been shaped. He spoke to the boys about identity--the many different ways we define that for ourselves.  In an interactive exercise, Dr. Gay asked the boys to develop a list of traits, roles, and interests that define who they are.

Working in pairs, boys selectively shared characteristics of their identity with each other in response to the repeated question, “Who are you?”  Dr. Gay then prompted them to reflect on why they opted not to mention some attributes, highlighting the sensitivity that we all share surrounding our differences and how we are perceived by others.

In another activity, Dr. Gay showed a short video that helped the boys recognize blind spots in the way we view our environment.  They were asked to consider how keen focus on our own experience/interests may prevent us from seeing what is happening in clear view. 

This is Year Two of our three-year partnership with Dr. Gay. Earlier this year, he conducted a workshop with faculty and staff, and met with our parent body. After this morning's workshop with the boys, Dr. Gay furthered his dialogue with faculty and staff through small group discussions, and met with our PA President and Committee on Community Co-Chairs.

In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, it is vital that our boys learn to appreciate difference, and to develop cultural competency. Dr. Gay’s work with the boys has started with the Seventh and Eighth Graders, who will soon move on to secondary school communities and ultimately college environments that promise to broadly represent difference.

Equipping the boys to understand themselves on an even deeper level and to develop an awareness of their own biases and blind spots will surely enhance their ability to be successful as they move on to make their mark on the world – and to fulfill the aspirations of our school’s Founders “that they be good men.” Next year, Dr. Gay’s work will continue with more of the boys.

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