Portrait of a Graduate

Our Upper School recently spearheaded an all-school effort to discover the unique attributes of a PCDS student. Over the course of many months, we conducted interviews with every exiting senior and scores of alumni. We read relevant books and articles by acclaimed authors and experts in the field of education. We spoke at length to representatives from dozens of colleges and universities. And we dug deep with our own faculty and staff. Below is the result, our Portrait of a Graduate.


I am an individual.

Where I come from, where I am headed, and the path I have chosen make me unique. I know things other people don’t know, and I have the courage to ask questions others haven’t asked. I am proud of the things that make me different from others. I give myself permission to chase the things that challenge my mind and move my heart.

Part of a Whole

I am part of a whole.

I am an individual, but I am not alone. I am curious about others. I acknowledge that my experience is valid but that it does not tell me everything I need to know about the world. I seek out opportunities to understand the world outside of my experience. I am careful and compassionate, empathetic and effective in my communication, in speaking and listening. I am not just tolerant of difference; I believe the diversity of human experience is its strength.

How to Think

I know how to think.

I am knowledgeable, literate, and conversant in many subjects. I am proud of the things I know, but I joyfully acknowledge that there is much I don’t know. I am not ashamed of the limitations of my knowledge, because I love learning. I use what I know to learn what I don’t know. I seek to apply and practice concepts and skills in new and original ways, and I am not afraid of failure. I ask questions. I look for patterns and connections among disciplines. Having learned what I’ve learned, I know that I can learn.

Inclined to Action

I am inclined to action.

I solve problems with courage, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and dedication. I have made a difference in my community and I will continue to make a difference in the communities I join. I will use my education and my individuality to benefit someone other than myself. Because I know myself and I am curious about my world, I will identify an impact only I can make, and I will make it.