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Loyola Academy Hosts Fourth Annual Young Women of Color Symposium

On Saturday, March 2, Loyola Academy and Francis W. Parker School hosted the fourth annual Young Women of Color (YWOC) Symposium, which led over 200 sixth through twelfth grade participants in a series of workshops, affinity group sessions, and activities to create a space for conversation, connection, and community for students who self-identify as young women of color. The day's conversations were guided by the 2024 theme: Find Your Path.
"This is our fourth symposium, and we are super excited to be hosting it at Loyola this year. The students and I have been planning since November and meeting during lunch periods," said student planning committee member Bailey Wallace '25. "We want the symposium to be educational, but we also want students to have the opportunity to network with adults who hold jobs in the careers students are interested in. I also hope the symposium is a safe space for young women of color and that they are able to connect and bond with other women of color."

The keynote address was delivered by Loyola Academy alumnus Senite Barih '20, artist, founder, and chief financial officer of The.BlkRoom, a Chicago-based organization and community network facilitating opportunities for BIPOC artists and creatives.

Students selected from a diverse range of thought-provoking workshops, each focusing on various aspects of professional life and facilitated by experts in their respective fields. Loyola Academy alumni Mirka Gallo '13, Heartland Alliance; Imani Flowers '13, Lasalle Investment Management; and Diana Phiri '16, Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, presented to students about self-care, money management, and how to become a nurse. Other workshops included "Exploring Career Horizons: The Multifaceted World of Marketing," "Embracing Authenticity," "Cultivating Confidence in Professional Settings," and more. Additionally, students had the chance to hear from a panel that featured women who work in marketing, journalism, medicine, politics, and cultural philanthropy.

In the afternoon, guests spent time in affinity groups led by trained facilitators who identify with the racial/ethnic identity group.

A special thank you to the following for the hard work and preparation needed to make this symposium a success:

Loyola Academy Student Planning Committee
Mya Allen '25 
Sofia Chen '25
Kennedy Currence '25
Ruth Duressa '25
Betlehem Berhane '25
Sinit Gebrehiwet '24
Abigail Ghiorghis '24
Sandrina Madariso '24
Milannia Martin-Hayes '24
Naffy Okbamichael '24
Mayode Oluwole '25
Monse Perez '25
Olivia Sweeney '25
Milca Tekeste '25
May Valentine '25
Bailey Wallace' 25

Participating Schools
The Ancona School
DePaul College Prep
Francis W. Parker School
Francis Xavier Warde School
Hansberry College Prep
Kenwood Academy
Lake Forest Academy
Latin School of Chicago
Loyola Academy
Niles North High School
North Shore Country Day School
Pope John 23
Providence Catholic High School
Regina Dominican
Roycemore School
Saint Ignatius College Prep
St. Matthias School
St. Thomas of Canterbury
Thomas Middle School
Timothy Christian Schools
University of Chicago Lab Schools
Wolcott College Prep

Loyola Academy

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Loyola Academy admits students of any race, color and national origin or ethnic origin.
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