Our Speaker Series on February 7 featured Helen Mays of the group Side by Side Virginia, which is "dedicated to creating supportive communities where Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth can define themselves, belong, and flourish." Helen talked about how to dialog with young people about gender norms and identities and the way we are all impacted by gender norms. There was discussion about how to support people in being who they are, and how to help those who find themselves boxed in by gender stereotypes. Side by Side hosts free Charlottesville Support Groups at the UVA Teen & Young Adult Center: the Middle School group (ages 11-14 with parent permission) meets on Sundays from 3:30-5:50pm; the LGBTQ+ group (ages 14-20) meets on Mondays from 6:30-8:30pm. The phone number for their Youth Support Line is 888-644-4390.
Our Speaker Series on January 31 featured Tandem co-founder John Howard, who came to regale the community with his thoughts on and stories of Tandem's early years. He brought along Tandem alum Nathalie Heyward (TFS '76), who shared her own experiences of Tandem in the '70s. Howard said that he and co-founder Duncan Alling faced many obstacles as they opened co-ed, integrated Tandem School in 1970. The school's progressive, college prep mission with mottoes of Kindness and Wisdom and Freedom with Responsibility met with local skepticism. Those opinions began to change in 1973 when six of the seniors in the first graduating class were admitted to UVA. John spoke about the importance of kindness, of strengthening yourself so that you can help others, of leaving Tandem with what you have learned and going out to change the world. He both inspired and challenged today's Tandem students to embrace and stay true to those guiding philosophies. Nathalie spoke with humor about the Tandem she experienced after being at a more strict school, and shared some great stories of student life here. Both of them answered many student questions with honesty and humor. What a gift it was for our community to hear from them today!
In the January 10 Speaker Series, eight recent alums came to share their wisdom about college with our juniors and seniors. They spoke eloquently about how and why they chose their schools, and gave great advice about how to settle in and find friends, and how to organize your time. They answered many student and faculty questions about what worked for them at Tandem and what's working for them in college. We love this annual event as it brings back beloved alums to share their insights and advice about their college selection process and college life. They always provide authentic and heartfelt input. Many thanks to Zeke Weiss (TFS '18, Guilford College), Elie Bashkow (TFS '18, UVA after gap year), Eli Ratzlaff (TFS '16, UVA), Emma Johnson (TFS '19, Kenyon College), Tori Carter-Johnston (TFS '18, Howard University), Kate Dean McKinney (TFS '17, William & Mary), Latrell Winkey (TFS '18, VCU), and Fisher Brodie (TFS '18, Alfred University after gap year) for sharing their time today. This annual Speaker Series is always a favorite.