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PIE2 2021- Celebrating Diversity and Promoting Inclusion
Events, General, Guests, News, Past Events, PIE, PIE talk, Senior School, Sixth Form
Our biennial PIE2 day is an extension of the PIE programme which provides an opportunity for students to have a day off-timetable to take part in workshops, listen to talks and join seminars of their choosing. This year the theme of the day was Celebrating Diversity and Promoting Inclusion.
The day began with an opening keynote speech from Putney alumna, former GB gymnast, dancer and choreographer, Aicha McKenzie. She beamed in virtually, in true 2021 fashion, although she was, “gutted that [she] couldn’t run out and knee slide across the stage while saying, ‘Yo, I’m back school!'”.
Aicha spoke to the students about her time at Putney High, which she joined aged 11, having been given a bursary for the school fees. She spoke about embracing her differences, “we are all different, that is our superpower”.
Referring to time at school, she told students to not only, “search for the space where you can be the best version of yourself” but also, “the most yourself version of yourself.”
Having worked with many big names, from Take That to Kanye West, Taylor Swift (to the joy of the students) and many more, Aicha certainly had many stories to tell. She talked about resilience and having doors closed, as well as her ‘successes’.
She left the students with a piece of advice she received as a teenager to “keep your eyes and ears open, and learn along the way”.
After Aicha’s speech, students split off to enjoy the many lectures, workshops, seminars and films on offer throughout the day.
With talks from The Black Curriculum, a musical workshop about a 1700’s play, Inkle and Yarico, Diversity in Art workshops, folk dancing around a may pole, Paralympic sport, the launch of a student designed “Diversity app” and much more; there really was something for everyone.
We were even joined by two female police officers from the Met, who spoke about how the police force has changed over the last century, from having its first female officer in 1918, to its first Black female officer in the 60’s, first Asian female officer in 1971, and finally, in 2017, its first female lead, Cressida Dick.
The day closed with our second keynote speaker, Baroness Grey-Thompson who gave an inspiring talk based on her experiences since becoming a wheelchair user at a young age and her time as an athlete, as a cross-bench peer and member of the House of Lords since 2010.
Baroness Grey-Thompson retired from athletics after racing at no less than five Paralympics and has since focussed on campaigns for sport and disability rights.
After an enlightening Q&A session with students she left her audience with an important piece of advice,”Find something you love doing and work hard at it. It will make a massive difference to your life.”
Thank you to everyone involved for making PIE2 2021 such a memorable and thought-provoking day.
Take a look at the full programme of the day and find out more about our guest speakers.
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