Sarah Hobson, ’93

Ethnodrama

Sarah Hobson, Class of 1993, now works in the field of ethnodrama.

Photo from CLAMO Yearbook

Sarah Hobson, Class of 1993, now works in the field of ethnodrama.

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Sarah Hobson was in third grade when Clayton underwent desegregation. Having moved to St. Louis from an integrated New York City a few years prior, Hobson immediately noticed a stark contrast between the two cities.

“I was automatically struck by racial divides,” said Hobson. “I had lots of questions, even as a little one, about why my community was so predominantly white, what was happening in the city and why it was a ghost town, and why there wasn’t some integration.”

She attributes learning surrounded by students from different backgrounds to her present-day awareness and has drawn from these experiences to inform her current job.

“[Desegregation] raised more questions for me about why I had so much privilege and so many resources and why I could go to bed or not worry about violence or about any of those kinds of things,” Hobson said. “The experiences I had because of desegregation at Clayton helped me begin to bump up against all of the discomforts of people looking at me with resentment and frustration… That taught me what it meant to have a lot of humility and step off the pedestal that everyone in my world had put me on.”

In 2015, Hobson founded Community Allies as a way to promote equity through ethnodrama. Ethnodrama is the dramatizing of a compilation of different responses to a single scenario or topic.

“So I do this kind of work with kids and I run after-school programs where they create ethnodramas to make change in the world,” Hobson said. “I also bring that work to teachers and help them use ethnodrama in the classroom to connect their teaching to real-world learning opportunities and to engage their students in doing real-world research.”

Hobson credits her time at Clayton for providing an environment that allowed her to develop her skills and passions into the active community member she is today.

“That lifelong journey of learning how to serve when the world has been built around you and has served you… I think it started with just having an awareness of the fact that I had privilege,” Hobson said. “That’s the advice I would give: don’t stay in the bubble.”

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