What Is Belonging?

Whether you’re a senior who has been around since sixth grade, or you’re a freshly transferred ninth grader, we are all part of this community. We walk the same hallways, have the same teachers and eat the same foods. We all share one goal: making this year at University Prep a good one.

As a community, we must ensure that every student feels like they belong. What does that mean? Well, according to UPrep’s strategic plan, which all faculty were encouraged to read, belonging means to “cultivate a culture of belonging as an essential condition for healthy learning and development,” however, faculty are but a single part of this community. The vast majority of this community is comprised of us, the students.

So the question remains: what does belonging look like for students? Whether it be a passing smile in the halls, or sitting with a new group of people during lunch, belonging can take many shapes and forms.

It may feel silly or annoying to go out of your way to make others feel comfortable; the school already has a lot of community programming. However, for those who feel like they don’t belong, even the smallest action can change their day. Hold the door open for someone. Go sit with someone who is alone at lunch. Support your peers who play sports by going to games. Cheer people on during grade competitions. Talk to people outside of your grade.

Our community is still reeling from the past two years of social drought, and many feel socially and emotionally stunted. Now, more than ever, we must come together to rekindle the light that once emanated from the student body. The faculty and administration are doing their best to facilitate this, but at the end of the day, the students are the cohesive bonds that keep this school whole. We are the glue that holds this community together.

Approved by 8/8 members of the editorial board.