Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Vanguard organization awards Branson’s Nathalio Gray

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Nathalio Gray stands on the library porch in fall 2021. Starting that year, he has the title of assistant head of school. (File: Natalie Wendt, Lena Sugrue)

On Oct. 21, Assistant Head of School Nathalio Gray won the Vanguard Achievement Award at the Cathedral School for Boys. The award was given to him to recognize his commitment to independent schools.

Gray has been working in independent schools for 23 years. His work in the Vanguard Organization has been to help underprivileged communities in the Bay Area gain educational access, particularly to independent schools.

An adviser and mentor to African-American male students, Gray has played a key role in the Vanguard Organization over the years.

“[Vanguard] raises awareness in underserved communities about independent schools and helps people become aware of educational opportunities,” said Gray.

The Vanguard Organization was founded by African-American male educators in the Bay Area who worked in independent schools to create an opportunity to bring African-American male students together.

“It’s an opportunity to bring them together because often they’re isolated on many of their campuses and just an opportunity to bring them together to support one another,” said Gray.

The organization meets at an annual conference where the group of educators can discuss their work in independent schools and the steps they can take to better support their communities. There are 10 members currently, but support comes from many more people in the form of donations and spreading the word about the work of the organization. 

This year, the conference was hosted at the Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco, where the award was presented to Gray. 

“I felt valued and appreciated for the work that I’ve done over the years,” said Gray. “It’s not easy working in independent schools. There are highs and lows and challenges, and I’m a part of a brotherhood that is very supportive of each other,” he said.

At Branson, Gray has worked to try to achieve equal access for everyone in the community. The award he received reinforced his belief that every student deserves to be in a room with their people. 

“Sitting in that space, I was reminded about the value that students had by sitting in a room, and they didn’t feel like they were the only one,” Gray said.

Gray also discussed Branson’s affinity program and how vital it is to the school community. He finds it necessary for students to have a space where they can feel confident and supported in exploring their identities.

“I truly believe it helps build community,” he said, “because when you’re confident, and when you feel confident — supported — in who you are, it helps you become a better person as you operate outside of affinity spaces.”

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About the Contributor
Mira Sridharan, Writer