Middle School Spanish and French teacher Ann Porcella had not planned to bring the controversy surrounding DACA into her classes following the announcement, days earlier, of the Administration’s plans to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But then two things happened.
The first was that Head of School Matt Micciche announced this year’s theme, “courageous community.” The second occurred later that day, when a dear friend of Porcella’s shared a troubling story about how her Chinese-born daughter had come home from school that afternoon and asked, Mom, am I legal?
“My friend was, understandably, upset,” said Porcella, “and then I began thinking about my own students, about how the school year was so new and how I didn’t yet know them or their backgrounds.”
Starting from a place of courageous community and the Quaker belief that there is ‘that of God’ in everyone, Porcella shared her friend’s story with her classes and the discussion grew from there. “We didn’t go into it politically,” she explained, but using the target language she engaged her students in hands-on grammar and vocabulary lessons in response to the controversial program. The colorful signage adorning the classroom and adjacent hallway stating “We are all equal,” “We are a courageous community,” and “No human being is illegal” is but one result of those lessons; however, for Porcella and her Spanish language students the conversations will continue.