2019-2020 All-School Theme: Belonging

A note from Chief Enrollment and Student Affairs Officer Liz Schmitt on this year's theme:

We long to belong. Belonging is a fundamental human need, and it means being seen, heard, and, ultimately, affirmed. At Porter’s, our objective is to recreate and reclaim a space with our students and faculty in mind. This requires that we collectively create the conditions and shared principles that allow for belonging and an obligation to actively participate in a community rooted in the inherent worth and dignity of each member. To successfully cultivate this community, we must challenge our assumptions, confront ourselves, and lead with empathy. Dolly Chugh, author of “The Person You Mean To Be,” invites us to go one step further and not simply believe that a more just world is possible but to actively work to build it.

Throughout the year, students will participate in the theme in various ways: student leadership retreats and meetings; workshops; and daily classroom and co-curricular engagement. We will also host three Community Days. The first will focus on racial identity, the second on health and wellness, and the third on the intersection of identity and wellness. It is through these opportunities that students will come to better understand lived experiences that are not their own, allowing space for growth, while simultaneously focusing on their own well-being.

The theme will also serve as the vision for the renewal of our student life program, which situates our students’ identities at the very heart of what we do. This will involve investing in intentional programming in diversity, equity, and inclusion; student leadership development; and health and wellness. It also includes surfacing student voice on topics such as dress code, discipline, traditions, and daily school life.

When students feel a sense of connection to and pride in their communities, whether family, peers, schools or community groups, they become more self-assured, they are better able to navigate challenges, and they feel as though they have important contributions to make. It is by focusing on others that we are able to build the pillar of belonging for and with them, enabling them, ultimately, to journey elsewhere with confidence and connection to something larger than themselves.