On a recent Saturday morning, 200 high school and college students got up early to discuss issues that personally affect them. They attended Kennett High School’s 14th Annual Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference at Kennett High School.
Mr. Ray Fernandez, assistant principal and conference organizer, said, “Educating students about social issues, ethnicity, race relations, and cultural differences and similarities is as important as teaching academic subjects.” Students and chaperones represented high schools in York, Bethlehem, Allentown, Coatesville, Norristown, Philadelphia, Oxford, Phoenixville, and Reading.
Liberty High School Principal Mr. Harrison Bailey III from Bethlehem presented the keynote address. He began by pointing out that there many students in the audience who outwardly appear to be confident or not to care, but feel less confident on the inside. Everyone wears a mask.” The core message was that everyone in the audience is tomorrow’s future. He challenged everyone to make that Saturday the day that changes everything; the day that the mask is removed.
He continued by telling the students that the day was about building a better them so that they can contribute to a better us. He identified two critical concepts that would help each student as they worked to improve themselves: passion and purpose.
He told the students, “As an educator, I believe that the most significant factors to obtaining success are identifying your true passion and purpose.” He continued by explaining that passion is simply what you love, what speaks to the heart, and that once you have determined your true passion, you will be compelled to pursue it. Purpose, he told the students, is why you do what you do, what motivates and drives you when others have long since quit. He encouraged the students to find a way to honor their passion and purpose in order to change the world.
Kennett High School offered multiple workshops as part of the conference with topics that challenged students to consider their purpose in life, leadership skills, and experience growing up in a multicultural society. The workshop What Is Your Y? helped students to find their purpose in life. Another workshop, presented by members of the Kennett and Norristown high schools’ UNIDAD clubs explained to participants how to start clubs in their own schools.
Reflecting on the Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference, Kennett High School sophomore Zanyla Mitchell stated that she liked meeting new people and that she is excited to learn how different and unique everyone is.
Dr. Barry Tomasetti, Kennett Consolidated School District superintendent, said that the greatest impact of the Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference was that “everyone has worth and can grow to realize their dreams.”
Conference sponsors included Exelon, PECO, ComEd, Landhope Farms, CJ Mushroom Company, DeLarosa Heating and Air Conditioning, Stinton Air Conditioning and Heating, Becker Locksmith Services, Burton’s Barbershop, El Ranchero, Rosticeria y Tortilleria, Enzo’s Italian Eatery, Taqueria Morolean, Taco Bell, KFC, Pepperidge Farms, Fulton Bank, Wawa, Plaza Azteca, Subway, Panaderia Lara, Herr’s, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Pepsi Beverages, Kennett Pizza and Pasta, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, El Campamento Mexicano, Hong Kong Buffet, Taqueria y Carniceria Guadalajara Express, Tapatia, Sam’s Sub Shop, Pro Musica Studio, Wegman’s, Krapf’s, Basciani Mushroom Farms, and Giant.