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The First Student-Created Symposium in New York History

What do Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the students from Brewster High School all have in common?


They are changing history.


Brewster High School is partnering with the Putnam County Historian’s office to host the first ever student-moderated panel in honor of Women’s History Month. They’re calling it The Stanton-Anthony Symposium: Influential Women of the Hudson Valley, and it’s happening on Thursday, March 23, 2023.


Panelists will represent women involved in business, law, civic engagement, politics, writing, art, science, and medicine–all of whom call the Hudson Valley home. Panels will be moderated by Brewster High School students enrolled in Dutchess Community College’s History of Women in U.S., the first women’s history class to be taught at the high school. 


“To my knowledge, this is the first student created symposium in the history of New York State. It’s created by our students for students,” said Social Studies teacher Kayla Corvino.


“This symposium is teaching about more than just women; our students are learning to be organized and empowered. They are organizing the symposium in addition to having a full course load for the class–which is a college-level class–and all their other responsibilities.”.


25 panelists from the Hudson Valley will participate, many of whom have a connection to Brewster High School. Students will select panels based on their future aspirations. After the panel ends, there will be opportunities for students to network and build relationships with professionals in their desired fields.


Students reached out to local women-owned businesses for the food, drinks, and swag for the symposium. Brewster High School Life Skills students will make the snacks and prepare the materials prior to the event. 


The students have also created a raffle basket where proceeds will go to the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center. 


Emily Babio and Juliana Castellano, both seniors, created posters and pamphlets for the event and came up with questions for the panelists.


“I am super excited to learn about all of these fantastic women in our area. I believe it's special that they are women who have impacted society, and they are right in our backyard. My dream for this panel is for other kids in our high school to come out and engage with our speakers and participate in this opportunity. I think this is such a great conference to share within our school,” said Emily.


“We invited all different kinds of women to speak to students about the ups and downs of their experiences–how they got to where they are today. I think it’s going to be a great learning experience,” said senior Nina DeFazio. Unfortunately, she added, it’s “not easy for women to be in the workforce.”


For many of the graduating seniors, this is a unique opportunity. "It's important to me to know that my teachers are looking out for me before I enter the professional world," said senior Brianelly Munoz. 


“We’re so lucky; we have women who were pioneers in their field and women currently breaking into new fields”, said Corvino. “We’re trying to show that our girls can do and be anything they put their minds to–and even if they aren’t so sure of who they want to be just yet, we want to show that they are capable of achieving their goals and finding who they are.” 


“I think creating a connection with both the students and panelists is important because, at least for me, it gives me a sense of courage to accomplish my own personal goals/dreams. I can see someone like me who is achieving their own dreams day by day,” said senior Angelina Perez.


If you are interested in finding out more about the event, please follow on Twitter @BHShistory or on Instagram @stantonanthonysymposium.