By MICHELLE IRWIN
This year, Patrick Henry High School — along with all the Henry cluster schools — are going through the process of becoming No Place for Hate schools. At Henry, our goal is to create a learning community free of prejudice and build a community based on inclusivity.
As a learning community, we must advocate for equity and combat any type of racism that seeps into our lives. We must analyze our cultural frame of reference and widen our cultural aperture to understand the people around us.
James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Our purpose is to address institutional racism and explicit/implicit bias in order to unite and become a community that is bound by integrity, dignity and the pursuit of a more just and peaceful world.
Students, family members, staff, faculty, and community members meet bi-weekly to discuss ways to develop lessons and activities to educate all our students and faculty members. Our students and staff have signed a No Place for Hate Pledge and discussed microaggressions as a lesson. We have many more events planned throughout the year in order to end racism and provide a safe community for all students. Check our our No Place for Hate website at noplaceforhatephhs.weebly.com.
In mid-November, we were given the approval to begin sports conditioning for cross-country, football and field hockey. Our student athletes and coaches are held to the highest standard of safety precautions. It has been refreshing to see our students on campus in the afternoon doing something they love. We hope to add more sports throughout the year.
Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, our district has delayed the reopening of our schools for Phase 2. In mid-January, we will have a status update on a possible reopening date. There are many factors to reopen, which include the utmost safety conditions, agreements between our district and our employee unions and implementation of PPE equipment at every school.
Please remember to visit the Patrick Henry website for up to date information about our school and district at patrickhenryhs.net.
We hope you have a safe holiday season. On behalf of the Patrick Henry High School Faculty, we want to thank you for being our partner in education so we can ensure all students graduate with integrity, purpose, and options.
— Michelle Irwin is principal of Patrick Henry High School.