Leadership’s donversity access activity was a hit


Kendall Witters

In access during donversity week, students and teachers listened to and reflected on Amanda Gorman’s “The Miracle of the Morning”.

Austin Coyne, Staff Writer

During the week of April 19-23, Amador Valley hosted their annual Donversity week. On Wednesday, students were treated to an Access activity put together by members of Leadership and AV teacher Jenna Hewitt King

“Many students haven’t been on campus nor have they met their classmates/teachers so we wanted everyone to get a chance to talk to one another as well as learn new things. The whole purpose behind donversity and our theme ’better together’ was so all students on campus feel connected even through these tough times,” said Rida Sarwar (‘21).

Amador teachers responded well to how the event was organized. 

“I thought [the activity] was fantastic!  It was great to see my ACCESS students engaged in subject matter that is often not comfortable to talk about.  Having courageous conversations regarding race is vital to understanding and appreciating our cultural diversity that we have here at Amador High School and in Pleasanton. My favorite part of the activity was seeing and hearing students’ reactions to the poem by Amanda Gorman, and viewing the word that students added to at the end of the activity,” said US History and Civics teacher Shawn Weber

Assistant band director Patrick Dandrea also shared a positive opinion on the activity after participating with his students. The poem was a great introduction to lead to deeper class conversations. 

“I thought the poem from Amanda Gorman set a wonderful tone of acknowledging the challenges before us, but also leaving us with a sense of optimism for how we can work together. My favorite part of the activity was when I got to stop talking, and just listen to my students share their thoughts in the conversation. The natural flow of the conversation was really surprising and exciting, and I thought the students navigated these challenging conversations very well,” said Dandrea

For some, this type of conversation is typical in their household or even in some classrooms. For others, this may have been a whole new concept, albeit an important one. 

“In my access we have spent a lot of our time together talking about race and equity and also issues that go along with mental health facing teenagers in Pleasanton. It was normal for us to talk about these things and we chose to talk as one big group rather than go into breakout rooms, but we did have a good conversation and the activity was definitely a good one,” said math teacher Charles Snyder

Hewitt King, English teacher and facilitator for the Donversity planning committee appreciated all positive feedback she heard from students and staff. 

“People said they had great discussions and were able to connect with each other in a meaningful way. With that said, diversity, equity, and inclusion are big and nuanced topics, and I think that we should think about a way to embed these conversations more regularly throughout the school year. This will allow students and teachers to build stronger relationships and have the time to engage with more resources to support our growth and learning,” said Hewitt King