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Student Life

Speaker's Series

Each week during Community Time (a forty minute block of time after lunch), students and faculty gather to listen to someone speak about an issue, cause, or educational experience or enjoy a performance or Open Mic. COVID-19 has impacted our regular Speaker Series schedule, but we were able to host some online and outdoor events during the 2020-2021 year.

List of 5 news stories.

  • Reflections on the Significance of the Election of Kamala Harris

    In a powerful Speaker Series on January 15, the Tandem community paused to reflect on the significance of Kamala Harris becoming our first-ever black, South Asian, female vice president. Tandem community members including parents, students, past parents, alumni and faculty were invited to contribute their insights and reflections using the inspiration of the “Windows and Mirrors” curricular frame from SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity). The organizers of this Speaker Series, Head of School Whitney Thompson, Director of Diversity Gordon Fields, Director of Philanthropy Laura Allen, US Dean Jocelyn Camarata, and history teacher Jason Farr, wanted to create a space to recognise the significance of Kamala Harris’ election at this time in our shared history. Together, they wanted to acknowledge VPE Harris’ role as both a mirror to some who see a connection between themselves and Ms. Harris, and as a window to others who may now see a new perspective as they observe someone unlike themselves in a leadership role and creating new public policy.

    The hour-long, all-school online event was filled with strong and passionate voices and included a panel of Tandem community members who shared their thoughts and perspectives: current Tandem family, the Bostons - children’s book author Marc, his wife Rachael, and their daughters, Marley (TFS '25), Delaney (TFS '26) and Journey (TFS '28); alum Emily Dean-McKinney (TFS '12), who is in politics and worked for the Harris campaign in 2018; parent Nick Winter, professor of political science; alum Tori Carter-Johnston (TFS '18), current student at Howard University (where Kamala Harris is an alum); and Laura Allen, Tandem's Director of Philanthropy and event moderator. The program featured a compilation of wonderful video and written testimonials submitted by TFS community members, including current parents, students, alums, even future students. Some of the main takeaways were that representation matters, that stepping into literal and metaphorical spaces historically inaccessible to women and people of color matters, that historically black colleges and universities should be better recognized as the powerful institutions they currently are and historically have been, and having your voice heard and your perspective changed matters. Many thanks to every person who contributed to the honesty, power, and hope shared; so much gratitude has been expressed for what was spoken. This conversation will be built upon in future programs and classes, and we will all look at Wednesday’s inauguration with some deepened perspective, both historic and personal.
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  • Side by Side Virginia Presents at Speaker Series

    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.
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  • Tandem Founder John Howard and Alum Nathalie Heyward (TFS '76) Speak about Tandem's Early Years

    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!
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  • Alumni Return to Give Advice and Wisdom

    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.
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  • Lorena Tabrane, Outreach Co-Chair of Dreamers on Grounds (UVA), Speaks to Students

    Lorena Tabrane, Community Outreach Co-Chair of Dreamers on Grounds (UVA) was the presenter for the December 6 Speaker Series. She talked about Undocu(Ally) Training, whose mission is to create a more inclusive environement and safe space for undocumeted students through education and advocacy. She discussed the challenges faced by undocumented students brought to the USA as children. Lorena is a 3rd year student at UVA studying Identity Politics & Legal Theory. She was assisted by UVA 4th year student Johanna Moncada-Sosa, a Foreign Affairs and Political & Social Thought major who also serves as Vice President of Dreamers on Grounds. Tandem students were very engaged during their presentation and asked great questions.
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