SCORE Ushers in Student Led Changemaking

by Mollie Kemp ‘23 and Lucy Palma ‘23

As we pioneer into the unexpected 2020 year, the events over the summer concerning racial injustice aren’t behind us. More specifically they are faced head on not only by teachers but also the students at SSSAS. On September 14, 2020 SCORE was formed and joined by 35 students. The Student Committee on Racial Equity, or SCORE, is a group that will confront any racial inequality and strive to make SSSAS a safer community. 

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Dean of Students Linda McGuire described the initial reason for starting the group as a way to “make changes in the student culture.” Furthermore, she emphasized that “the best way to do that is going to be with sort of like student ambassadors, like equity ambassadors, kids from all grades, from all walks of life, who are committed to the idea of racial equity.”

Abhay Mathur, a sophomore member of SCORE explains his personal reason for joining, “I look back and saw some moments where I either saw racial injustice, or racial inequity, or I experienced it myself. And I realized that you know, I kind of want to fight this in our community, and make the community a better place.” 

Myles Sandy, another sophomore, had a similar idea of what he wanted to contribute to the group, “For me, and I feel also with other members of SCORE, it just [will] leave the school a better place than we found it and just making it more equal and more like, more of a safe place for people of color.” 

While SCORE currently operates on Zoom, Jane Chen, a senior member explains the goals they’ve set for changemaking this year. Chen wants to see the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes community, “become more comfortable and aware of diversity by becoming educated about historic and current racial injustices, as well as listening to people in our community about their experiences with injustice.”

The response of creating a committee came from a series of incidents surrounding police brutality and racial violence over the summer. Dean McGuire described what she felt happened over the summer “...what I think happened this June was galvanizing to have several incidents right in a row that woke up people who may never have looked at this before who may never have really, you know, they maybe heard about police violence against black people, but they didn't experience it viscerally and something around, you know, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd...all happening like at once made folks who had never looked at it before get it.”

SCORE meets every week on Tuesdays at 2:00pm after school ends but hopes to eventually hold Blackbox forums and discussions, as well as handling situations around the school that have to do with racial injustice. As described by Jane Chen and Dean McGuire, the first steps the committee plan on making are a series of in-person training sessions to get the members more comfortable leading a group and able to be a big influence in the student life surrounding diversity and inclusion. 

The process of becoming a SCORE member was a simple but effective way to assure the committee received students committed to fighting racial injustice in the community. Students had to listen to a podcast or Ted Talk and write a short analysis on what they chose to listen to. Freshman Theo Weimen listened to a podcast by Shaun King, a civil rights activist who promotes justice matters on social media. “I just wanted to help our community in any way that I could,” Weimen reflects. “Especially starting as a freshman, I kind of just wanted to jump right in, and try to make changes as soon as possible.”

“I went to the (People of Color Conference) with my first and second year here,” Dean McGuire said. “And you go with a group of students and the students would have so much energy at the conference and would come back and kind of feel like they're not going to get anywhere, you know, kind of feel a little hopeless. And that was really frustrating for me. And so now I think we have an opportunity to sort of work with this energy, catch the wave, and really push ourselves forward throughout the year.”