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OCA heads to Roc2Change

On Friday, November 17, 2023, more than 400 students from over 40 local school districts gathered for the 15th Roc2Change Student Summit on Race held at Monroe 2 BOCES in Spencerport. For the first time, Monroe One students from O'Connor Academy joined them for a day centered on conversation, collaboration, and celebration. 

The theme of this fall's summit, "Give Respect 2 Get Respect," set the stage for an impactful day that opened with welcoming remarks from Ruth Turner, Deputy Superintendent for Administration and Supports at the Rochester City School District, and Dr. Timothy Terranova, Superintendent of the Victor Central School District.

The summit began with powerful statements on pressing social issues delivered by members of Teen Empowerment, a local center dedicated to providing life-changing opportunities to youth in the City of Rochester.

The heart of the summit comprised three interactive breakout sessions: Discrimination and Respect, Respecting Personal Boundaries, and Respecting Cultures. These sessions facilitated meaningful discussions among students.

In the Discrimination and Respect session, O'Connor Academy students, along with their peers, explored their definitions of discrimination, discussed ways to show respect to discriminated groups, and dove into the interconnectedness of respect and discrimination.

The Respecting Personal Boundaries breakout allowed students to define their personal boundaries, explore conflicts that may arise between them, and brainstorm ways to respect each other's boundaries. The Respecting Cultures segment encouraged students to identify the defining aspects of culture and brainstormed strategies to be respectful of each other's cultural backgrounds.

A special community lunch provided an opportunity for students to further connect and share their experiences. The day concluded with closing remarks from the Principals of this year's host districts, Gary Reynolds of Wilson High School and Brian Siesto, Principal of Victor High School.

From sharing personal experiences on topics ranging from race and religion to sexual orientation, to celebrating rich cultural differences, the Roc2Change Summit on Race challenged everyone in attendance to listen and learn, inspiring each participant to be the change they wish to see in the world.

O'Connor Academy is proud to have been a part of this transformative event, and looks forward to continuing these vital conversations within the school community. By fostering understanding, empathy, and respect, we can collectively work towards creating a more inclusive and compassionate world.