Summer SLIDEs By

High school students from across Los Angeles participate in SLIDE LDP over the summer

Tali Gurule, Summer Staff

Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Leadership Development Program (SLIDE LDP) is composed of three days of leadership development activities at the upper school and two nights at the UCLA dorms. The program allows participation from 20 schools, four students from each school. A team of Harvard-Westlake (HW) teachers, including Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Janine Jones and Student Leadership Teacher Jon Carroll created the program this year.

The goal of SLIDE LDP was to give students the skills needed to become better leaders. Those skills would then help the students become a better leader at their school. Attendee Anaya Olivas ’25 said SLIDE LDP used projects, student facilitators and guest speakers such as actors and politicians to accomplish its goal.

“I think that one of my favorites was one of our own student facilitators,” Olivas said. “She recently graduated, and she was named Cionnie [Pineda ’22]. She talked about her life and her experience going to Harvard-Westlake.”

SLIDE LDP teaches its participants that leadership combines many different skills. The program allows students to explore their personal definition of a leader. Maya Ray ’25 found that this was the lesson that resonated with her above the others.

“It showed me how people can be a leader in different ways,” Ray said. “Leader in the simplest terms is just someone who wants to see advancement for the future and wants to help people get there. That could be shown in any way that a person feels comfortable.”
Harvard-Westlake found the inspiration for SLIDE LDP in a different teen conference, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Every winter, around 3,000 high school students from all across the country come together to participate in the four-day leadership program. SDLC is meant to teach the students how to self-reflect, build a community and form allies through communication skills. However, SDLC is only available for students attending an independent school.

“The SDLC conference is so transformative for students, particularly the ones that we have sent from HW over the years that we wanted to try and have some kind of regional, smaller version of it so that more kids are getting the opportunity and that our students who have gone [to SDLC] were getting an additional opportunity to they learned there,” Carroll said. “I really enjoyed, for SLIDE, getting to see the interaction between public school students and independent school students. Their experiences are different in many ways, but also similar.”