School News

Respecting Differences Day
Posted 04/18/2017 09:00AM
On Monday, April 10, the Fenn School held their second annual Respecting Differences Day in which we welcomed actor and clinical psychologist, Dr. Michael Fowlin. Students in the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools witnessed Dr. Fowlin present a provocative and engaging performance that highlighted the seriousness of empathy and respect for each other’s differences. Eighth grader, Peter Napoli, found that Dr. Fowlin’s performance demonstrated “The importance of taking your pain and using it to help others heal.”

Dr. Fowlin’s embodiment of various characters across different cultural identifications (e.g. race, ability, sexuality, mental health) challenged each and every one of us to question all forms of prejudice and discrimination. According to Tete Cobblah, Fenn’s Director of Diversity, “This is the fourth time I have seen Dr. Michael Fowlin perform. Each time the performance is different but the humanity, empathy, respect for difference and the strength of all of our vulnerabilities, are necessarily present.”

Dr. Fowlin’s ability to use humor to discuss difficult topics speaks to his insight and gift of duality. As seventh grade student Max Koehler puts it, “I liked that he was funny but also serious. He made you really uncomfortable and made you really think about what he was saying.” Ultimately, Dr. Fowlin’s beautiful message helps us recognize that our individual differences are not points of contention or humiliation, but rather they serve as points to spread kindness, engage in meaningful conversations, and unify as one. Headmaster of the Fenn School, Jerry Ward, addressed Dr. Fowlin’s transformative impact at Fenn during his reflection at the end of the presentation: “Michael Fowlin educated all of us—boys, teachers, and staff—about Fenn’s shared and universal values of honesty, respect, empathy, and courage in a way that had unique power and impact on us. His creating and stepping into the role of his poignant characters as each shared what was in her or his heart she or he lived their challenging and painful lives, brought to life our shared humanity and our need to see beyond external differences and stereotypes into the true selves of the human beings we see and engage every day in our lives. I’m not sure I’ve met a better and more powerful educator than Michael Fowlin. Our Fenn boys are still talking about what Michael taught them and, I think, will hold his insights and lessons in their minds and hearts for a very long time."

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An Independent Day School
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516 Monument Street, Concord, MA 01742

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