May 16th, 2019
A recent study in the journal, Child Development, found that students who made friends outside of their own ethnicity and culture felt safer and less vulnerable in school and in later life. Those students have less apprehension about making friends outside of their immediate peer group. The study found that, as classrooms increased in diversity, the number of a student’s cross-ethnic friendships also increased. At Selwyn, we see this study’s findings as a starting point for institutional and personal growth.
Selwyn’s student diversity was most pronounced when it was a boarding school: students from countries across the world came to Selwyn, and at the time, Selwyn could boast of a truly global student community. We value the sort of diversity we see in our alumni body, and we are making strides toward increasing diversity in all of its forms in our current school community.
Already we teach a diversity of voices: students learn about women pioneers of science and math; they read literature by prominent Native American, Hispanic, and Asian and African American writers; they learn about the historical contributions of often marginalized communities whose voices have, in the past, been suppressed; they learn about international communities and their cultures, most prominently visible at International Night. Above all, students develop the empathy and emotional intelligence necessary to navigate an increasingly diverse society. Our faculty and staff will spend the summer reading about how other successful independent schools navigated issues of race, ethnicity, and gender and will spend professional development days in the coming semesters discussing how to implement these strategies best in the classroom. As a school, Selwyn has taken bold curricular and instructional steps toward developing an inclusive community.
But we know we can do better.
With full support from the Board of Trustees, Selwyn is proud to announce the John and Robin Doncaster Merit Scholarship. Named in honor of Selwyn’s original headmaster, and espousing values he holds dear, this full tuition scholarship will be available to four incoming Upper School students of exceptional ability and diverse background. This diversity scholarship will carry on Selwyn’s legacy of promoting a diverse community, but it is still merit-based: applicants will submit an essay, conduct an interview, and have the same achievement expectations as all incoming students. Importantly, though, this diversity scholarship is a concrete step toward fulfilling Selwyn’s mission of cultivating global citizens. We cannot adequately fulfill this mission—cannot develop children and young adults—into true citizens of a global society if they are unfamiliar with what a global society actually looks like.
Students benefit from diversity. Diversity develops empathy, emotional intelligence, social responsibility, and moral character. Encountering diversity—be it socioeconomic, racial, religious, or gendered—contributes to the strength of our friendships and allows us to be better, more well-rounded citizens. The John and Robin Doncaster Merit Scholarship is reflective of the values that Selwyn teaches, and we hope that you will share this opportunity with families in your networks as we strive to become a community that is not only rigorous and experiential but also strikingly diverse and inclusive.
To learn more and apply for this diversity scholarship, click here.