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KEHS/KES African and Caribbean Society hosts first King Edward’s foundation wide conference

On Friday 23 February, the KEHS and KES African and Caribbean Society hosted its first King Edward’s Foundation-wide conference. We had 120 students from 12 schools from across the King Edward VI Foundation attend the day.  

The day was opened by Jodh Dhesi, CEO, and Dr Katy Ricks, Chief Master of KES discussing the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition, “Entangled Parts” before Miss Bréchon-Smith (KES) and Miss McKee and Miss McKee (KEHS) hosted the day, starting the session off with a talk on “What is identity?” and what this means to them and the students were able to feedback on their impressions of their own identities. A student said it “genuinely made me think about my identity as an ethnic minority – very thought provoking.”  

Guest Speakers, Mr Wade Lyn, the High Sheriff of the West Midlands and owner of Island Delight Jamaican patties and Dr Pogus Caesar, a conceptual artist across multiple media in particular photography, gave insightful and inspiring talks on their lives and careers. Some of the students have commented on Dr Caesar’s talk, “Seeing his artwork and him explaining his artwork and his background was very interesting “andI found his story and advice very useful, and I feel like I can implement them in my daily life and future”.  

Within the group discussions, and networking, students were able to discuss their own experiences. Students felt “it was interesting to get the insight of students from other schools and to hear their experiences,” and “It was nice to talk to people your age who are like you, I felt part of a community for the first time ever.” This enabled students to feel connected as a community across the KEVI Foundation and the opportunity to understand others’ perspectives.  

The day concluded with a panel discussion where students were able to ask questions about their lives, careers and experiences. The panel consisted of Stuart Lawrence, the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence and public speaker, Hannah Joseph, England Netball and Loughborough Lightning player, Celia Fraser, Asset Management manager at Capital Group and Camp Hill Girls Alumni and Governor, Sophia Bréchon-Smith, Social Media Manager for Five Guys across four countries as well as a Handsworth Girls alumni and Garry Stewart, a specialist in pre and post-war history and Black Heritage Walks. 

One student commented about the panel: “they provided us with useful information for life and how to strive to be better. Plus, all their unique backgrounds and experiences gave us different outlooks. Overall, it was very interesting.” 

The day was full of inspiration, raising aspirations and being able to network and connect with students across the KEVI Foundation and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the staff, students, governors and guests who attended.  

One participant shared some positive feedback from the event: “A fantastic and well organised event. It was a pleasure to be involved. I have so many memories of the engaging and well-balanced young individuals…“each and every one shining like diamonds”. 

Miss Bréchon-Smith, Miss McKee and Miss McKee
KES and KEHS African and Caribbean Society

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