My name is Kali, I’m a senior at HCA, and God has called me to be intentional in building community. My mom often talks about the role of being “the glue” – that is, the person who keeps everyone in a family or group together because they are intentional about investing in the relationships within it. I’ve always thought that there is no greater honor than being told you’re “the glue.”

When I think about building community, I enumerate all the things I do at HCA (and after eleven college applications, I’ve gotten pretty good at it). I served as a 2-year volleyball captain, a student ambassador, a yearbook editor, a middle school volleyball coach, the first President of the HCA chapter of the National Honor Society, and the Student Body President. And while those things fostered leadership qualities in me and held me accountable to a higher standard that affected who I am and how I act intentionally today, they didn’t make me intentional. In fact, I realized that what made me intentional wasn’t what I chose to do at all, but the way other’s choices affected me. So instead of listing all the things I do, I want to focus on what I’ve

Because of HCA, I have always felt known, both by my wonderful friends and the amazing faculty and administration here. They have prayed for me, known me by name, and invested in me in a million ways. That love has not only fueled my passion for both my academic studies and my walk with the Lord, but has caused me to love HCA with a passion. I first began to get involved with student council because I wanted my peers to feel the same way.

A friend who greatly inspired me was Miss Olivia White. Over and over again, from seventh grade to graduation and even beyond, she made me feel like I mattered. She smiled at me, she asked how I was, she made me feel known. And that’s what we all long for, isn’t it? To be known by others, and ultimately, by the God who made us. Olivia so inspired me that I began to seek ways to invest in younger girls, to make them feel special and known. It changed the way I saw being the older kid, taking it as an opportunity instead of a privilege. And that taught me something about community. It’s not about events or specific structures or any big act at all. It forms from the small, intentional choices that we choose to make or neglect every day.

My time at HCA is almost up, and I honestly believe that God has enabled me to live intentionally in each and every one of my roles in some way to foster community within his church family at HCA. The more I’ve grown to love the Lord and the more I’ve come to love HCA, the more I’ve come to love the people that belong to them. They’re my family, my tribe, my people. And just like our school theme this year, “Know Him,” all I want is for them to feel known by their creator and by me.

So I challenge you: May we remember Jesus’ prayer, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one,” and may we ask the Lord to show us how we can be intentional in every moment we are given. Let us be the “glue” in our communities, and especially in the family of Christ.