Unity in our differences at school

Committee created to celebrate diversity


Photo by and used with permission of Cara Stronsky

The Diversity and Equity committee leaders meet together to discuss the committee’s future plans, while addressing plans for the upcoming festival. The fair will take place during April 20-22.

Sid Talukder, Staff writer

The Diversity and Equity Committee was established this year to draw attention to the various identities making up the Lake Zurich High School student body. 

The committee was formed in early October after Cara Stronsky, counselor, first had the idea of starting the club after students had reached out to her about different adversities and microaggressions that they were experiencing, whether it was at school or in the community.

“I paired up with the administration to make sure that we could hear those people and start to address these issues, so that people can feel comfortable here at school,” Stronsky said. “[Our students want] to educate our community on empathy and allyship, and create a safe space for all by increasing awareness and visibility of diverse groups. We invited students who have come forward previously addressing these issues as a start to the committee, since those are the kind of leaders [that we need].”

One of the students who was invited, Michaella Gregoire, senior, jumped in to join the committee, as she believes that it is important that issues about cultures and equality are addressed. 

“I feel like as a student here, there are so many issues that aren’t talked about enough or students and even staff are informed about. There are so many different things that students face on a daily basis, and I feel like the issues that the student body goes through aren’t talked about enough,” Gregoire said.

Gregoire says she is extremely passionate about helping to make a change, not only to improve the environment for the students now, but also the future. According to Gregoire, creating this committee was a big step in the right direction. 

The committee wants to make people aware that everyone in the school is different and that it is okay to be unique.

 “[It doesn’t matter] what your sexual orientation is, how you identify with your gender, what the color of your skin is, or what your religion is. We just want to make sure that people here can walk around the school and feel comfortable being themselves,” Stronsky said.

The committee’s first step for change in student equity is changing the curriculum.

“My students brought up what they have seen and heard in class through the curriculum, and what they [have been] doing [in class],” Stronsky said. “We are making sure that our staff is aware of how to handle these conversations and how to approach what can be ‘touchy’ subjects.”

Although some of these subjects can be viewed as controversial, Stronsky believes that students should be comfortable with being themselves at school. “A lot of teachers just really aren’t aware of everything that’s being said around the school and how things can be affecting others. So I think that’s going to be really important, that all the staff in our building understands exactly what’s going on and how we can help because our staff in the building care about our students and we want the best for them.” Stronsky said.

The club also hopes to shine a light on the different cultures in Lake Zurich. They plan to host a cultural diversity fair, April 21- 22, bringing different guest speakers and students to talk about their own cultures. 

“In LZHS there are a lot of different students with different backgrounds and different stories, but we don’t get to hear them as a whole. Most students and staff are uninformed about the variety of cultures and diversity of LZHS, because it was never presented to them,” Gregoire said. “I feel like we’re going in the right direction with this fair though, and I believe it will bring a lot of different knowledge to students, and it’ll be a good way to show and spread the true diversity of the people that go to school here.”