What’s In A Name? Students Engage in Cultural Competency Skill Building

St. Margaret’s students have been exploring an important aspect of themselves over the past few weeks -- namely, their names. This exploration is rooted in the school’s ongoing strategic work around cultural competency skill development. 
 
“Names represent important connections to many aspects of our identities, including family history and cultural heritage,” said Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Ryan Dahlem, who delivered a chapel homily about the importance of names to Lower, Middle and Upper School students. “Names provide a window into who we are and can foster a better understanding of one another through the sharing of our name stories.”
 
Mr. Dahlem also highlighted the importance of proper pronunciation of names.  “Many of us can relate to having our names mispronounced and the feeling of disconnect it creates. Being intentional about pronouncing each other’s names correctly is an important cultural competency skill and a tangible way we can create an inclusive, respectful and loving school community at St. Margaret’s. This work stretches us to deepen our empathy for one another and opens the door to future conversations about differences in thoughtful ways.
 
Students will have the opportunity to share the story of their names, including the proper pronunciation, as part of the upcoming Literacy Day experience with its theme of “HIStory, HERstory, OURstory.”  All kindergarten through grade 12 students were asked to research the history of their names and share the cultural and familial significance by telling their own individual name stories. 
 
Students each received a form personalized with their picture on which to write their name story and were encouraged to speak with family members to learn about this important aspect of their identity.  Students’ name stories will be shared and “published” on a timeline during Literacy Day based on the history of the name.
 
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An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
949.661.0108
 
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