This week, St. Andrew's welcomed cyclist Ayesha McGowan for a keynote talk and a Saturday morning workshop with students. "Ms. McGowan has the audacious mission of becoming the first ever African-American female professional road cyclist," said Associate Dean of Faculty Giselle Furlonge, who coordinated her visit with St. Andrew's photography teacher (and cyclist) Joshua Meier. "A trained violinist with a degree from the Berkeley College of Music, Ayesha McGowan embodies the drive and the multiplicity of talent that characterizes so many of our own students. She shared her journey to redefine who is a cyclist and what her presence in the world of cycling means for representation in the sport." You can watch McGowan's talk in full on our Livestream channel.
"I am having such a blast here at @SASdelaware," McGowan said on her Instagram account during her visit. "The students have been so welcoming, engaged, and inquisitive ... Thanks for allowing me to come and teach these kids why #representationmatters!"
McGowan's visit was part of a week-long series of equity and diversity workshops and events organized by the Student Diversity Committee, in anticipation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21. On the Saturday morning after McGowan's talk, students led equity workshops around the theme of "getting proximate" for their classmates and faculty. Workshop topics included:
- Autism & Civil Rights
- The Biology of Race and Athletics
- Should Students Be Allowed to Self-Identify Gender Without Parental Permission?
- Exploring the Harvard Admissions Lawsuit
- LGBTQIA+ student panel, held in the living room of our Head of School's house
Students also participated in off-campus service opportunities, including work with Habitat for Humanity, Friendship House Clothing Bank in Wilmington, and a ride-along with a Middletown police sergeant. "Whether through a classroom workshop or a service experience, our students and faculty came into closer contact with one another and with the unfamiliar," reflected Ms. Furlonge. "To me, this weekend's programming is St. Andrew's at its best—collaborative, communicative, reflective, and passionate."
The week's events also included two Chapel services. The first was held on Friday in anticipation of McGowan's visit. In this "pop-up" Chapel, students played instruments and sang in the Main Common Room. "Many stopped to listen and watch their peers make an offering of their artistic abilities," said Chaplain Jay Hutchinson. "The idea was to celebrate how multi-talented our students are; all of the performers are both artists and athletes." "It was kind of cool the way it built up," noted Thomas Cunningham '19, who sang as part of the service. "First there were only a few people listening but then more and more came and enjoyed the music—it felt like it really built momentum."The second was our weekly Wednesday night Chapel service. Led by members of the Student Diversity Committee, its theme was "There's More To Me Than What You See." Students read from Scripture and from the writings of Dr. King; lead prayers for the people; performed dance, vocal, and spoken word pieces for their classmates; and Elise Hogan '19 gave a brief Chapel Talk on her experience at a student diversity conference this summer. You can watch portions of the student performances in our Instagram stories, and you can listen to Elise's talk on our Podcasts page.