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O’Hara students participate in diversity & inclusion summit


TONAWANDA — Eight Cardinal O’Hara High School students took part in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit at the University at Buffalo on March 29.

Students from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Club at Cardinal O’Hara High School took part in the DEI Summit at the University of Buffalo on March 29. From left, front: Hailey Crawford, Dejhana Ridgeway and Sandra Bradberry, and back, Jade Rutledge, Nico Scirri, Dylan Flynt, Simmarion Threet and Chris Wright said the day was a learning experience. Maria McGrath and Kaven Torre are moderators of the club. (Photo courtesy of Cardinal O’Hara High School)

The students – Sandra Bradberry, Hailey Crawford, Dylan Flynt, Josh Ogiba, Dejhana Ridgeway, Jade Rutledge, Nico Scirri, Simmarion Threet and Chris Wright – spent the daylong event at various workshops.

The day, hosted by members of the community, concluded with a keynote address by Jillian Hanesworth whose poem, “The Hill We Climb,” was read at President Biden’s inauguration. The poem is a moving call to America to be a more perfect nation during a time of turmoil.

In addition, Hanesworth is the first-ever poet laureate of Buffalo where she has been asked to “inspire Buffalo in verse.”

Hailey Crawford, a sophomore at Cardinal O’Hara, read one of her poems in front of her workshop class led by Hanesworth.

“It was a wonderful experience reading one of my poems,” Hailey said. “The purpose of the summit and of our DEI Club at O’Hara is to have a voice in the discussion of diversity. We learned a lot from the day.”

Workshops ranged from “Yoga – Mind, Body and Breath” to “Fake It Til You Make It,” a painting workshop, to “Student Leadership in DEI.”

Seven workshops, each presented in two rounds, gave all the students an opportunity to choose their interests.

“It was a good day,” Hailey smiled.

The DEI Club at Cardinal O’Hara is co-moderated by Maria McGrath, mathematics teacher, and Karen Torrie, administrative assistant.


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