At the Epiphany Chapel service on Wednesday, January 15th, a surprised Porter Brown ‘20 received his award as this year’s Epiphany Scholar. Established in 1991, the award is advanced by the Rector of Christ Church Episcopal to honor a student who exemplifies commitment to Christian values through worship, sensitivity, and outreach to others, and it certainly seemed that Porter was a more than deserving recipient.
His close friend Chapman Mann ’20, stated, “throughout our time playing lacrosse, hanging out, fishing, shooting, and leading bible studies, there has always been a presence of God’s light that shines through him.” Best friends since Middle School, Chapman proudly shared that Porter— always open to talking about God's love for everyone, pushing others to grow their relationship, and to walk God’s life the way we should try to— is so deserving of the award and honor because he “influences others to always serve the community the way that Jesus would like us to.”
Porter’s biology teacher, Mrs. Paulette Unger, also spoke on his behalf saying, “Porter is patient and kind and recognizes the importance and power of building strong relationships. He seeks to forge relationships with all members of our community, using God’s gift of vision to see people from different perspectives and show empathy. And it is relationships with students, like Porter, why I teach. Last year, as I took a leap of faith and challenged myself, personally and professionally, Porter, like many of my students, showed constant support and encouragement. And sometimes this encouragement might not have even been intentional. For on a rough day, Porter’s eyes, looking up from that front row, would shine Christ’s light and curiosity in my direction and I would be reminded of the importance of my work and carry on.”
Melanie Gordon, Spirituality and Ethics Teacher and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for CCES, echoed Mrs. Unger’s comments. “One of the hopes that we, as teachers have for our students,” she said, “is that they remain curious throughout their lives. Porter possesses a depth of curiosity that so many in this community have witnessed.” Ms. Gordon recalled one of her Ethics cases that had the potential to be polarizing, saying it was Porter who reminded the group to hear one another rather than fall into an unwinnable debate. “He doesn’t see life as an opportunity to be the loudest voice or to debate the other, but as a journey in which we seek to understand one another.”
As chapel drew to a close, Cameron Baird offered gratitude for his dear friend Porter, praying;
We thank you for the gifts you have endowed each and every one of us with,
but especially today we are thankful for what Porter has brought to this community,
a positive attitude, a vigorous work ethic, and an upbeat smile that shows your love.
Your light shines through him in all that he is:
a student, a leader, a friend, an athlete, a son, a brother and so much more.
Let Porter hear and spread your word.
And finally, O Lord, we pray for his continued ministry
and we ask for your blessing upon him.
In your name we pray Amen.