Uncommon Conversations: Time-Traveling Correspondence with Sumaya ’26 and Ms. Palmero, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Discussions at Commonwealth have a sneaky habit of wandering out of classrooms. Whether they’re debating Romeo’s decision-making skills, unpacking resistance movements in colonial Central America, or finding problems that don’t conform to the Church-Turing thesis, these spirited chats spill out into the hall, follow friends to lunch, and stick in your head long after the day is done. You can step into one of those conversations below; just imagine you’re sitting on Ms. Palmero’s cozy couch next to Sumaya ’26 as they talk about their first impressions of each other, the letters new students write to their future selves, and what our “open-door” policy really means. 

Sumaya: So I met you in 2021, and my first impression of you was so strong. You were very chill. I was like, “Oh! I haven't met very many teachers like this. I really like this woman. She’s so sweet!” That was the day that you made us write notes to our future selves.

Ms. Palmero: Oh, you're right! This was over in the Dartmouth Lobby, right? And we talked about SSAT prep and building community, and then you wrote your letters about what you hoped for your future selves. And then I gave the letter back to you at the start of fall 2022. 

Sumaya: Yeah, and I saved it in my cubby. I was just rereading it. It was surprising, like, “This child wrote this to me?!” But it was so cute. And I just can't believe you kept it for so long. 

Ms. Palmero: That's what you said to me that morning! 

Sumaya: I remember: you were very friendly! I could just keep talking to you. And then after that, I’d poke my head in your office, like “Is she here today? Is she here today?!” If I ever had a problem, I’d come to you. I've come complaining, crying, laughing, everything. 

Ms. Palmero: You know, I have to tell you something: you are what makes my life at Commonwealth so fulfilling. [Sumaya giggles] It’s true! And you really should know that. Of course there’s the work I do. But when I think about what I love about my job—when people ask, “Oh, why did you want to be a director of DEI?”—it's because of you! You’re why I do this. So even those moments you might see as complaining, I see them as just being with you in that part of your journey.

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