Interschool Seminar: Breaking down barriers through student led discussions

Thurgood Marshall Academy hosted the Interschool Seminar on February 21st. The event, now in its second year, brings DC public, private, and charter high school students together to voice their opinions on issues important to them. TMA students, along with students from Ballou, SEED, Georgetown Day, Sidwell Friends, Burke, and St. Johns, led discussions on current events and social issues.

The event was created by Cosby Hunt, a senior teaching and learning officer at Inspired Teaching who serves on the advisory board of Mikva Challenge. In an article on, he stated his belief “that history is relevant, meaningful, and alive in the minds and imaginations of students today.”

Ms. Lee, Social Studies Teacher, said “the event is also about having students gain a new perspective by engaging with other students they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to talk with to. It’s a way to break down barriers around similarities and differences of their peers.”

The evening began in the school’s library, where students enjoyed pizza and learned about each other’s schools. They then moved to classrooms where students facilitated discussions on the following topics: “Aziz Ansari, Sexual Assault, and Cultural Norms”; “Black Diaspora in US”; “Sex Trafficking”; and “Scientific Racism.”

Menkhuta Whaley, a TMA senior who facilitated the Black Diaspora in US discussion, reflected on her involvement with the event. “What I liked about these discussions is that they were organized and led by students. We chose the topics and we were part of the dialogue.”