More than 200 parents pursuing independent schools for their children gathered at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s for the 15th annual education seminar of the Metropolitan Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. Jack and Jill’s day-long seminar was designed to demystify the world of independent schools for families of color and to connect them with schools throughout the east coast.
“This seminar put more than 62 schools under one roof,” says Maria Perez-Brown, one of three co-chairs of this year’s seminar. “It was an amazing opportunity for families, many of whom are venturing into the private school world for the first time, to learn about what each school offers and to connect face to face with their representatives.”
The seminar is also invaluable for the schools, Ms. Perez-Brown says. “They have a chance to showcase themselves to interested families, and to meet parents of talented, eligible students of color.”
Jack and Jill of America is a membership organization for parents of young children dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders. The seminar was open families throughout the area, from first-time parents of 2-year-olds applying to preschool to middle schoolers and their parents who are interested in boarding school.
Jack and Jill members Megan Inaba and Ava Leegant also co-chaired the comprehensive seminar, which included a panel discussion focused on issues pertinent to independent school applicants; a school fair, which gave parents and school representatives the opportunity to connect personally; and a variety of workshops designed to prepare parents for the application process. Conrad Johnson, Secretary of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Board’s Diversity Committee, offered remarks to begin the panel.
Ms. Perez-Brown says that St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s was a generous, supportive host, and its uptown location made the seminar accessible to families from all over the city and beyond. “It’s a big commitment on the host school’s part, but it shows the school’s commitment to reaching families who may not previously have had access to an independent school education,” she said.
“Every year, we meet many fantastic families through this seminar,” says Kate Dworkoski, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Director of Admission. “We were thrilled to support the important mission of Jack and Jill, and also to acknowledge our many parents and alumni parents who are involved with the organization.”
“The best part about this seminar for me,” says Ms. Perez-Brown, “is the chance to demonstrate to the independent school community that there are talented children of color who want this kind of education, and parents who are committed to making it possible.”