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Conferences Overview

About 300 students from nine Lakeshore middle schools and 11 Lakeshore high schools gathered at Grand Valley State University on April 29th and April 30th, respectively. This year marked the 17th annual spring conference for middle school students and the 6th spring conference for high school students.

At the conferences, students had the opportunity to share what their school accomplished over the school year, meet students from other schools, increase awareness of different viewpoints, learn about segregated neighborhoods, discuss feelings about race, and explore Grand Valley's campus.

On both days, a keynote address was provided by the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan that provided an overview of fair housing issues in West Michigan. In the afternoon, students partook in an activity called Archie Bunker's Neighborhood - a simulation which demonstrates how institutionalized and housing discrimination affect neighborhood quality and opportunities for residents.

Special Thanks

Many gracious thanks to the Conferences Host: Grand Valley State University

Emcee: Sally Woods
GVSU Speakers: 
Kate VanDerKolk, Student Services Coordinator, Continuing Education

Keynote: Liz Keegan, Fair Housing Center of West Michigan
Volunteers: Silvia Diedrich, Waltraud Beckman, Lisa Miller, Kate VanDerKolk, Justine Kibet, Erika McInnis, Anna Perales, Joel Dye, Elizabeth Reynolds, Rebekah Kennedy, Susan Picking, Jose Astua, Todd Hubbard, Diane Ybarra, Allyssa Ingraham, Kishen Newton, Kris Jenkins, Tim Staffen, Carissa Hardy, Lydia Knowles, Frances Hogsten, Stephanie Andrews, Mary Hartfield, Paula Kendra, Linda Hood

Participating Middle Schools & Liaisons: Corpus Christi, Harbor Lights, Holland East, Holland Heights, Holland High 8th and 9th, Jefferson, Lakeshore, Macatawa Bay, St. Mary's, and White Pines

Participating High Schools & Liaisons:
Black River, Grand Haven Central, Grand Haven High, Holland Christian, Holland High 10-12, Muskegon Community Education Center, South Haven Zeeland East, and Zeeland West

Conference Photos

middle school conference photos...
high school conference photos...

Student Feedback

"People have so many different experiences at other schools and it's cool to see everyone come together."

"I just saw 'cultural intelligence' in a new light."

"Learn to observe others' cultures. If you don't know anything about that culture - ask questions."

"I enjoy coming to these conferences so I can connect and get to know people who care about diversity."

Black River student Anneka Johnston shares her reflections on Michigan Now Radio. listen now...