February 26th marked the tenth year that high school students have gathered for the Student Leadership Diversity Summit (SLDS). The annual event provides an opportunity for more than 150 high schools students to show their leadership skills, meet new people, and share ideas on how to make their schools safe, inclusive, and supportive for all students.
This year’s summit began with opening comments from Superintendent Glenn Maleyko, but from there, all activities were led by the students. An icebreaker helped students get to know their peers from the neighboring high schools. Fordson students started the learning part of the day with a session titled “The Power of One.” The students performed short skits and then broke into small groups to discuss how their actions, no matter how small, can make a difference in others’ lives. Dearborn High students followed with a workshop on Why You Matter. The day wrapped up with Edsel Ford leading a discussion on Resiliency.
The culture and climate of a school is set by those who are in the building during the day, the staff and students working together. Students who took part in the SLDS expressed a desire to represent their school, share ideas, and, most importantly, return to their school to implement the ideas learned with their peers and staff members.
“The summit provides students with the knowledge and tools needed to help them create a culture and climate in their schools that is understanding, compassionate, and dedicated to welcoming all,” commented Stacy Rumler, Dearborn High Social Worker and one of the event organizers.
Social workers and teachers from each of the high schools organize the annual event but all breakout sessions are created and led by the students.