Diversity in Action

Each year, prospective parents are invited to hear about the work of MICDS in diversity, equity, and inclusion. On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, they gathered on campus to hear from Dr. Grace Lee, Dean of Faculty, and two students: Kareena Kanumury ’23 and Cortlin Dalton ’23. Here are their remarks.

Dr. Grace Lee, Dean of Faculty

Good evening everyone and welcome to Diversity in Action. My name is Grace Lee, and I serve as the Dean of Faculty. This is also my first year at MICDS in this role, and I am very much still taking it all in and learning about our school. In my role, I have a variety of areas that I serve, but my overarching areas of support are in being a thought partner and coach for diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as teacher recruitment and retention. While a diverse student body is critical for a school community, just as crucial is a diverse faculty and staff. We are so excited to spend this time with you and look forward to the conversations we will share. This evening we have a great program planned for you that will give you the opportunity to talk with students, teachers, and parents about our school. As a parent myself, I have been impressed with a lot of things about our school. While the academic aspect of learning is absolutely important and impressive at our school, I have to say that I’ve been most impressed with the community I see among students and faculty. What I know as an educator is that this community and sense of belonging does not occur without intentionality and it makes me so proud to be a part of this faculty. Tonight, I hope you will be able to see the intentionality we take in creating a community where our learners feel a sense of belonging. It is a space where we work to see and hear each other by learning how to listen to other perspectives and cultivate meaningful relationships. Most importantly, tonight I hope you see the rich tapestry of our diversity and how we care for each other.

Kareena Kanumury ’23

Good evening, prospective MICDS families! My name is Kareena Kanumury, and I am a current senior here at MICDS. I have been at MICDS since the beginning, from Junior Kindergarten through 12th. From JK, MICDS cultivated a community where passion and purpose are valued. At MICDS, everyone comes from different backgrounds, and the faculty and the student class help bring forth these differences. Since I was four years old, I have trained in Indian classical dance. I still remember in fourth grade when I told my music teacher I performed this type of dance, and she and I created a piece to showcase my dancing in the Beasley Winter Music Performance. I even showcased my culture and learned about other cultures and religions during the International Expo. It was a great way to embrace other cultures and my own in my MICDS family. Since then, I knew MICDS is a place that values differences from culture to interests to academic careers.

I have always loved the sciences since I was small. From my fourth-grade invention project to my first science fair project in sixth grade, MICDS helped me shape my passion for the sciences. In seventh grade, I still remember my best friend and I made a model invention of a sustainable shower that can save water, and we got our first blue ribbon. Even inside the classroom is an adventure as well. In sixth grade, we had a chapter on the cycle of how trees reproduce. We applied everything in the classroom as our sixth-grade class climbed the trees outside Elliot Chapel in Middle School. Seeing PowerPoint lectures come to life was so powerful; I still reminisce about seeing the treetops of Warson road. MICDS’ learning philosophy of learning through experience and academics makes this school unique from any other. The collaboration between students and faculty, the academic courses, and the extra-curricular clubs to dive into passions make me grateful for MICDS.

Apart from the academics, the friendships I made here are ones I will remember forever. I met one of my best friends on the playground structure, one in the Beasley sandbox as we dug a hole so deep we could reach China, one in my seventh-grade advisory, one in my ninth-grade free period, and the others in Hearth this year. Throughout my 14 years here at MICDS, every year was a new adventure, a new challenge, and a new opportunity to expand my horizons, my community, and my passions. This new year, MICDS can offer you all a new chapter to start a new adventure. Thank you!

Cortlin Dalton ’23

Good evening everyone my name is Cortlin Dalton, and I am currently a senior enrolled here at MICDS. I have had a great experience here at MICDS over these past few years: the teachers are always willing to assist me with anything that I need whether it be academically or socially. Every time I go to get help on my homework or an upcoming assessment, I can tell that all of the teachers here genuinely care about my academic success and do all that they can to assist me with that. Every educational department that we have has helped me tremendously to grow as a learner. When I first came into high school I never really considered myself a top-notch student, and I certainly did not think I would take any type of advanced or accelerated classes at any point in my life. But because of the great academic environment that we have here and constant encouragement from my teachers and peers to always strive for the better, I was able to complete this last semester with the best GPA I have ever had while taking two AP courses.

I am just one example of how MICDS pushes its students to be the best we can be academically, and I assure you that every other student who goes here would also say they have become a better learner just by attending this school.

I have also matured as a person at MICDS. Because this is a college preparatory school, we are given a lot of independence which in turn has taught me how to be more responsible, proactive, and hard-working. I have become a great group worker and have learned how to understand and respect the ideas of others because of the diversity that is present at MICDS. Every day I come to school I see many different cultures represented by our student body; we have students from multiple ethnic and racial backgrounds which is a great way for different cultures and ideas to be expressed. One way that these different cultures can be shown is through the clubs we have. Students may sign up for any club like the Asian Student Association, Manos Unidas which is a Latin American cultural club, Jewish Student Union, or even Black Student Union (this is the club that I am currently participating in). The presence of all these different ideas and lifestyles gives me real-world experience because I will have to work with all types of people as I begin to explore the world. This is something that not every school can offer to your children, and I appreciate MICDS for giving us this opportunity at such a young age.

MICDS offers athletics and other after-school programs which allow students to socialize while also engaging in an activity that they find interesting. Personally, I love to play sports, so playing football was a great way to meet new people while doing what I like to do. It can be difficult to socially integrate for some people as they go into a new high school, especially if they are not very extroverted people. But, if you have a hobby or interest, then these after-school clubs or sports would be beneficial because they allow you to meet new friends that you can talk to during the first days of school. This is what I did as a freshman and I met people who I otherwise would have never talked to.

Throughout these past 12 years that I have attended MICDS, I have learned how to become a better person and student. I have been able to meet new people and create lifelong relationships with my peers. I will be able to have opportunities that are not given at other high schools because of the great status that MICDS is known for. Everyone here is held to a high standard, and we are all capable of living up to that standard because of the opportunities that MICDS gives us. I am honored to be able to attend this school and to one day be able to say that I am an alumnus. Thank you for your time.