Waterford Students practicing civility, empathy, and courage

Monday, February 8, 2021

Braver Angels Last Friday, eight Waterford Upper School students and two faculty members came together for a morning of facilitated, respectful conversation across political differences.  Sponsored by Braver Angels, a national organization dedicated to decreasing political polarization,  this "red/blue workshop" used strict protocols to help participants express their beliefs and hopes for the country while the other side listened. 

Said Ethan L. "I learned that despite the differences we may have, the goals we share are very similar--we just want to better the country.  How we choose to do it is different." - Ethan L. ’21

It was inspiring to see our young people, during a time of unprecedented national rancor, be truly brave: speak honestly and openly while letting others do the same. Braver Angels knows that, "at this time, we need more than civility, empathy, and goodwill. We need courage."

"We stopped identifying as red or blue and started seeing each other as friends, Americans, and as people trying to do good." - Antony A. ’21

Waterford's liberal arts education teaches students to adapt and thrive in a world of rapid change. It cultivates robust general intelligence by resisting premature specialization, mastering the essential skills of lifelong learning. Waterford graduates know how to acquire information, how to assess information, and how to act on their plans and insights. Ultimately, the experience of a liberal arts education compels students to embrace their responsibilities as citizens in a complex world.

And we often note the portrait of a Waterford graduate including such skills as exploration, critical thinking, oral communication, inquiry, synthesis of ideas, adaptability, collaboration, and civic engagement. We observed these very qualities in the Waterford students participating on Friday. 

We will hold another workshop during spring term and encourage students in Classes IX-XII to sign up. 

For more information on Braver Angels, contact Erika Munson, Class XII Dean.