Today, division consumes almost every aspect of our lives – whether it be in our home, school, community, or even country. Recent shared experiences dealing with the pandemic, political polarization, and social opposition have exacerbated our differences and divided both the nation and the world. These large-scale issues have small-scale impacts – not only in the way we view our surroundings but in the way we view each other.
When asked about division at Green Mountain High School, English teacher Mr. Nowell shares “I think that any time you have this many adults and young people in an environment together there are bound to be divisions based on perspectives of age, gender, race, politics, etc.” Division itself is inevitable. The real question is: How do we overcome separation? It’s often difficult to see beyond the things that make us different. However, as both a school and a community, we are capable of unity. Nowell concludes by saying “I think the best way to overcome division is through culture building… If we can build a culture at school where we come together to respectfully put our differences aside in pursuit of learning and basic human decency we are on the correct path.” Judgment often preludes understanding. When we allow our personal biases/ preconceived notions to muddy our judgment, we are further enabling dissension.
The root of unity is understanding, awareness, and compassion. Unity is not achieved through the homogeneity of people or the conformity of belief, but the willingness to tolerate and appreciate the things that make us different. At school, unity can take many forms. Whether it be through a team sport, a kind gesture, or even a simple “thank you” towards a staff member, kindness is the ultimate unifier. Division may be unavoidable, but there is always a way to overcome it.