Administration introduces new theme for the year, champions ‘humanity and compassion’


Photo credit: Cybele Zhang

Cydney Davis ’18 and Rachael Boehm ’18 embrace during Color Wars 2017. The 2017-2018 school year’s theme is love.

Grit, gratitude, #LeanInTogether: These words are only a handful of the school-wide themes that Archer has implemented in the past. Head of School Elizabeth English announced this year’s word, “love,” at the middle school and upper school orientations in August.

Initially, English intended this school year’s theme to be “The Force is Female” — which served as the slogan for the 2017 Archer Film Festival — but after consulting with the senior administration team, English changed her mind largely due to the current political climate.

“Although I love the phrase ‘The Force is Female,’ the force is both feminine and masculine. At a time when we are already divided, I didn’t want to make a statement that was exclusionary,” she said. “Karen [Pavliscak] was really the one who said we all just need some love right now.”

Echoing English’s comments, Middle School Director Karen Pavliscak emphasized the often negative connotations behind the word ‘force’ in today’s world with recent events such as the Charlottesville demonstration.

“The news cycle has me thinking about force in ways that I feel disempowered,” Pavliscak said. “With all that’s going on in the world, I just wanted more love and kindness.”

English also noted that she hopes the theme serves as a reminder for everyone to practice more humanity throughout the day, whether they are interacting with their peers or someone else.

According to Archer’s website, one of the school’s primary objectives is to “educate future female leaders,” and English said that the best way to do so is with compassion.

“I really do believe that leaders need to lead with love,” English said. “I don’t care if you’re the president of The United States or a Girl Scout troop leader, your intention has to be loving and that’s where we have to start.”

A small gesture of kindness that comes from an authentic place of love can ripple throughout our community and help everyone. ”

— Middle School Director Karen Pavliscack

Although the theme is school-wide, the administration has different visions for how it will be used in middle and upper school. Pavliscak highlighted the fact that younger Archer students have different social experiences than members of the Upper School.

“Middle school is when you don’t know who you are just yet, and you aspire to be someone else,” Pavliscack said. “Your friends mean everything to you, so if every middle schooler tried throughout the complex ups and downs of her day to receive and give a little more love, we’d have an amazing year.”

English, meanwhile, emphasized spreading kindness beyond the Archer community.

“In the Upper School, students are much more aware of social issues plaguing our society, and my hope is that you all can bring love into the world you are graduating into,” English said.

Although the Middle School and Upper School will utilize the concept of inclusivity differently, a prominent overlapping similarity is that the administration strives to create a future generation of change makers, who are considerate of those around them.

“I always remember why we show up every day,” English said. “We come here to develop leaders of the world, who are compassionate and humane.”