Wholeness and Wellness

Kyle Williams, Contributing Writer

On Friday, February 7th, Poly waived classes in the Upper School for the school’s annual 

Community and Diversity, which featured student-led workshops, performances, and presentations. This year’s Community & Diversity Day was centered around the theme of Wholeness and Wellness: Embracing and Caring for the Whole Self.

After attending their first-period classes for 10 minutes to take attendance, students made their way to the Chapel for the opening gathering. Upper School Diversity Coordinator Dr. Angela Gittens gave a short interactive presentation on what wholeness and wellness are, along with what they mean to her: “I […] understand that I have to know and feel comfortable in my own self, in my body, in my mind.” 

Facilitators and students were then dismissed to their first workshop. They had previously selected from 25 options, which ranged from the “savior complex” to anti-Semitism to cancel culture. 

Students then came back to the Chapel for both a Student Artist’s Salon and Lunar New Year Assembly led by Asia Society. The salon featured 11 acts of music, literature, and visual arts. It included Concert Choir’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Alexandra Nava-Baltimore’s photography collection A Stroll Through Paris, and Rebeka Cabrera’s poem “How the Brown Girl is Taught to Live.”

 The Lunar New Year assembly consisted of some quick facts on Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rat. Asian-American community members also spoke about their experiences with Lunar New Year and featured performances of Shiro Sagisu and Yoko Takahashi’s “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Beyond’s “Amani.”

After students were dismissed, they participated in Affinity or Alliance Groups. In her email, Director of Diversity, Equity and Social Justice Motoko Maegawa encouraged students to join in on Affinity and Alliance groups even if they had never attended before. 

Students then attended their second workshop. Finally, the day was rounded out by the Xianix Barrera Flamenco Dance Company, which performed and explained flamenco to the Upper School.