Diverse Perspectives Offer Clearer Outlooks in St. J

race and diversityST. JOHNSBURY- Two St. Johnsbury Academy faculty members hope that the integration of background information will help students have a better understanding of race and diversity in their environment. 

This is the seventh year that the academy has hosted its Faculty Speaker Series, which runs from October, all the way through December.


The series was created by Assistant Headmaster for Academics, Jeffrey Burroughs, in hopes of showcasing the interests and expertise of faculty members. 


On Monday, October 16th, the second night of the series kicked off with English Department Faculty member, Molly Shepley and Dean of International Students, Florian Rexhepi who spoke about race and diversity. 


In their presentation, they spoke about the history of racial slurs and the evolution of discriminatory words. Rexhepi, an alumnus of the academy and former boarding student, who is also Albanian, says that he used to face discrimination in his home country growing up. 


“We have to always be aware of what diversity looks like,” said Rexhepi.  When asked why this sort of conversation is important to the academy specifically, he said,  “it is a very multicultural environment and so any conversation that has to do with any aspect of diversity ties into the whole cultural school.”


Shepley, who has previously taught in inner-city St. Louis, Missouri and in Brooklyn, says that being aware of cultural diversity, specifically as it may be lacking in the state of Vermont, affects the way that she and others introduce specific material.


“We do a lot of intentional thinking about background information and context,” Said Shepley.  She went on to say that being aware of sensitivity means not bringing up things just because it is a hot topic and people have a lot of feelings about it, but because it serves a bigger purpose of building student support around those issues.


The Faculty Speaker Series will continue through December, and more information can be found at stjacademy.org.

Race and Diversity Talk at St. J from NewsLINC on Vimeo.

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