Carried by Courage

In his Light & Shadow essay titled "The Power Within," D'Avian Houston '20 expresses the struggles he faces as a young black man in the United States. Each day brings situations where he finds himself looking over his shoulders, checking strangers' reactions, relying on inner strength. "Whether or not I wear a hoodie in to a corner store is a common debate in my household," he writes. "So how do I deal with it? How do I carry on? Inner strength."

Houston, co-leader of the Discipline Council, honor roll student, and basketball standout who will play at the College of Charleston next year, possesses a soft-spoken yet confident demeanor. He's aware of being blessed with opportunities such as the chance to attend a top private high school, but at the same time, he says, "I have worked hard to open every door."

When Houston transferred to Episcopal from a public high school in 2017, EHS had just launched a community and inclusion program, SEED, led by History teacher, 11th grade dean, and coach Wayne Jones. In his first days on campus, he says he was impressed by the students' engagement and the teachers' passion and approachability. He forged bonds with basketball team members and teachers like Alice Berry and Kary Kemble who welcomed him and helped him grow in poise and leadership. By junior year, he feels he hit his stride. He stretched himself to join clubs and activities and make friendships he would have never experienced had he not been a Knight.

While Houston is glad to see Episcopal make progress in embracing a diverse student body, he'd love to see more changes. "I think it would be great if there were a big community event or festival that could bring out all the students and parents. Something really fun and spirited that we'd experience all together," he suggests.

"The school will know it's getting closer to the goal of full inclusion when students like me—who are talented in a sport but also in academics-- can walk the halls, and the comments people direct to us about math tests and science experiments equal the number of compliments about last night's game. I've seen improvement, but there's always room for more."

For information on the School's Community and Inclusion efforts, visit the web page here.

--Claire C. Fletcher

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