It Takes a Village… Behind the Scenes of the Sanderson Equity Fair

Sanderson’s Equity Fairs set a high precedent.

Angela Clese

Sanderson’s Equity Fairs set a high precedent.

  64 student presenters, 16 staff members, and 22 classes. That’s how many devoted individuals it takes to run a Sanderson Equity Fair. It truly does take a village to pull off an event of this magnitude.

  The Sanderson Equity Fair runs like clockwork since the founding of the team in 2015. An opportunity for members to show off their unique skills, the equity fair is highly anticipated by the Sanderson community. 

  Dozens of meetings lay the foundation for success. Hours are spent designing poster boards, informational slideshows, and interactive games. And during the months of October, November, February and March, everyone’s hard work pays off.

  Not everyone knows the difference between equity and equality, between implicit and explicit mindsets, and between culturally relevant and irrelevant material. That’s where the student equity team members step up. 

  During the class period-long sessions, it is their job to educate their peers on the ins and outs of equity. Countless teachers raced to sign up to bring their classrooms to the long-awaited events.

  Planning one of these sessions requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. Throughout the month of November, equity team members followed an interactive presentation toolkit to elevate their presentation skills. 

  Created among the members of the equity team, the interactive toolkit included ideas for both a hands-on and reflective activity to incorporate. From journal entries to personality tests, the ideas guided presenters through the world of interactive presentations.

  One particularly interesting interactive presentation was executed by Masha Bobryk, a junior and two-year member of the equity team. Bobryk presented on the topic of social and emotional support and employed a unique material to demonstrate self-awareness: play-doh. 

  “I asked students to create something with their own hands that portrayed what made them happy. Some made members of their family, PS4’s, dogs, and even snowmen,” shared Bobryk, “The topic of my presentation was [managing social and emotional skills]. Using a play-doh activity was a way for students to collaborate with each other, since being in a comfortable surrounding is vital for discussing topics of such high importance.”

  Bobryk wasn’t the only member to employ an interactive activity in their presentation. Sophomore Erin Wilson set out ten chairs in the cafeteria, blasted holiday music on her phone, and directed her audience through a lively and unique game. 

  “I played musical chairs with my groups as a way to demonstrate an equitable experience in a group activity,” explained Wilson, “[My topic was] 7 habits of effective teenagers, and this helped me show each individual how to play fun but fair for each person.”

  As smoothly as Wilson’s presentation may have run, it’s important for every presenter to have a backup plan. With several other activities– including various materials such as markers and craft paper– lined up and ready to go, Wilson was exceptionally prepared for any type of audience. 

  “I had many backup plans because a lot of students don’t like certain games and after having students play a game once, a group will either want to play it again or move on.”

  After any major event, the equity team holds a debriefing for member reflection and improvement. 

  During November’s debriefing, a plus/delta model Jamboard guided student and teacher members alike through the process of reflection. A plus/delta model includes several prompts, encouraging participants to reflect on what went well, as well as the lessons learned. 

  “I wanted everyone to have a fun, fair experience that shows how one can be equitable and enjoy their lives!” reflects Wilson.

  The equity team will spend the next few months preparing for the March equity fair. Gaining traction every day, the team won’t be slowing down anytime soon.