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My Breck Story: A Student Embraces the Power of Identity

“In the spring when I heard about applications for the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools, I knew that I needed to go. Breck’s minority population is about 35% of the total student body, so it is not uncommon for me to be one of the few students of color in a class. Over the course of my high school career I have worked to become comfortable in my own skin. I finally accepted my identity publicly during my senior speech. When I found out that I had been selected to attend SDLC, I was beyond excited.

From the opening moments of the Conference, all my apprehension and anxiety about meeting new people transformed into anticipation as I felt the charged energy in the room.  Although we were strangers, nearly 1800 of us had traveled across the country to congregate and have serious conversations about issues that matter to us.  We were bonded by our passions, which fostered an environment of love, kindness, and empowerment unlike anything I had experienced before.

We sat spellbound as Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, inspired us to think differently about how we can help others.  One of my favorite moments and possibly the most memorable was walking into the room for the black affinity group.  Never had I see so many people who looked like me (600+) sitting in one space.  I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to explain everything I was feeling, but shock, joy, giddiness, liberation, inspiration, and love will have to do.  Moments like this are what made SDLC an experience I’ll keep with me always.  I’m so thankful to Breck for the opportunity to attend and cannot wait to share what I’ve learned with my classmates.” 

— Seyade Tadele, Class of 2017, College choice: Yale