Portrait of a Graduate: CHS Star Students


Student Nominees

Chelsea High School is starting a new tradition of hosting a Portrait of a Graduate lunch. Though many students have heard of the concept of the Portrait of a Graduate, many do not actually know what the phrase means.

Many students may have noticed a picture of a tree when walking around the halls of CHS. The tree represents the qualities a Portrait of a Graduate student should have: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. 

“There’s a circular icon with a tree and it has these different characteristics on it,” Assistant Principal Dr. Lumen Strong said. “What we want is when you graduate, you have all of the characteristics on the tree, like empathy and GRIT. From kindergarten to 12th grade your teachers are teaching you math and science and reading and social studies, but they should also be teaching you these other things in the Portrait of a Graduate that will make you a whole, well-rounded person ready for life.”

Throughout students’ twelve years in the Chelsea School District, forming academic, emotional, and social skills is important, and the Portrait of a Graduate lunch is meant to recognize students for their hard work in developing these qualities.

“It’s a recognition and a celebration of how some students are showing off the Portrait of a Graduate,” Strong said. “We’ve asked teachers to identify students who are showing off these components, and then we want to recognize and celebrate with these students that they’re doing these things in a really high-quality way.”

The Portrait of a Graduate lunch was created this year by CHS Principal Dr. Nick Angel and Dr. Strong who came up with the idea over the summer because they wanted to ensure the students displaying these important qualities were appropriately acknowledged.

The lunch is held once per trimester and while there, students are provided with Jimmy John’s while they celebrate and listen to a guest speaker. 

“Our first guest speaker is Mike Kapolka the superintendent,” Strong said. “The teachers who nominated the students are invited as well. It’s two departments, English and Math. So all the English and Math teachers can come to lunch and kind of celebrate with them.”

Only around fifty students will be chosen for this honor this school year. The lunch is meant to demonstrate to students how they are more than their grades and should feel proud of who they are. 

 “It helps the students know what they’re doing and the way that they’re showing [it] is a big deal,” Strong said. “It’s not just a 4.0.”