The Individuality Needed in Herriman’s Unity

Why “United” Shouldn’t Mean “Homogeneous”

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United. Adjective. According to Dictionary.com, its simplest definition is “made into or caused to act as a single entity.”

Shining bright on the auditorium stage at the beginning of the year, it was announced that this one word was Herriman High’s theme for the 2019-2020 school year. It has been regarded as a beacon of hope for a student body that has experienced quite a few low, discouraging moments in the past few years. 

“United” means smiles shared in bustling hallways; it means friendly faces holding the doors open for peers in the bitter cold mornings. The word, in our high school, might equal a mass of giddy laughter, cheering on the football team.

What “united” should not mean for our school, however, is the belief that we are all one melting pot of a student body. 

Let me explain – over the past decades, the term “melting pot” has been used most often to describe the United States. A blend of cultures, colors, and identities, all forming together to be one. It’s a good idea! But, it’s an outdated idea.

The “melting pot” title suggests that by becoming “united,” we are all one; every student, regardless of their background, is identical to the one next to them. 

Here’s the thing: the “melting pot” is fantastic. It has served as the representation of American diversity since long before any of us were born, but what I want to propose is that our “united” student body is not a “melting pot,” but an abstract painting. Different paints slapped upon one giant canvas – the canvas of our school year.

Uniting a body of students going in spider webbing directions, of course, is amazing. What we need to be able to do is celebrate individuality and culture within that one body. We’re not all the same – different cultures and different types of people experience the world differently, and to combine those without omitting any one personality? That’s powerful.

Here’s what Herriman High being “united” means to me: students and teachers of all cultures, colors, identities, beliefs, joining together with each other. Lifting each other up to speak their hearts without judgment. We should not minimize the unique experiences of one person in the name of “unity.”

Let’s give united a new meaning: to unite the Herriman student body by celebrating the individuality inside our doors.