Each year, the VES community addresses an issue of social justice. Last year, our community explored issues of social and health equities and practiced civil discourse. The prior year, VES hosted a week of education, open dialogue and engaging activities focused on Islam, religious beliefs, global awareness and pluralism. This annual week-long program blends thought-provoking documentaries and discussion, integrated classroom learning, expert speakers and parent learning. Conversations such as these are what VES is all about—opening minds, knowledge-sharing and building understanding, and encouraging exploration, curiosity, civil discourse and critical thinking.
This year, our school hosted the first in an annual series of conversations on important topics that have shaped VES and our world. 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the integration of VES. Our Dare to Imagine a Better World Dialogue: Breaking Down Racial Barriers
brought together more than 450 students, faculty, staff, parents and the Lynchburg community to listen, ask questions, learn and discuss solutions to complex issues covering race relations and inclusivity. The stimulating conversation was led by Mosi Secret,
journalist reporting and writing for The New York Times Magazine
and This American Life. Throughout the school day
, Dr. Marvin Barnard '71 and Dr. Bill Alexander '71—Stouffer Scholars who joined our community beginning in 1967—along with Mr. Secret and the first black faculty member of VES—Hank Wilson—joined students in History and English classes and hosted lunch table discussions.
Leading up to this weekend of community dialogue, relevant topics and place-based learning that explored issues of race relations, inclusivity and equity were introduced into the History and English curricula, chapel talks, debate club topics, civil discourse opportunities and more.