Emmett Schlager waits for his parents to see his Portfolio Show for the first time.

Don’t miss this video about courage, identity, and pride

Dignity, self-affirmation, and equality: these are traits we all hope to achieve at some point in our lives, but hope to feel every day of our lives. Imagine if these traits weren’t ones that come easily to you, or were not ones you were born with. Imagine if they were traits that you had to earn. Would you have the courage to do the work?

June 1 marks the beginning of Pride Month in the United States. The month of June commemorates the Stonewall Riots that took place following the police raids of gay and lesbian bars in Greenwich, N.Y. on June 28, 1969.

Pride Month empowers people from the LGBTQ+ community to be their authentic selves, rather than hide in the shadows of shame, so common in previous generations.

As an art educator for the past 20 years, I have always known that the visual and performing arts give individuals a voice. The arts invite unique voices, and then empower those voices to use the arts as a platform to share with the world.

Emmett’s story


I invite you to view this video of Colorado Academy Senior, Emmett Schlager. Emmett epitomizes the definition of courage. He has studied technical theater and studio art throughout his time at CA. He is a quiet and private person, yet he found the courage to use his art to tell a personal story about his own identity.

“I think what makes this work so impactful is not only the narrative that Emmett is willing to share with us, but also that through his use of color, light, and imagery, he allows the viewer to feel the physical and emotional weight of the spaces,” says Studio Art teacher Stashia Taylor. “Every artistic decision is an amazing example of Emmett’s thoughtfulness and the power of art as visual communication.”

The installation Emmett created for his Senior Portfolio art exhibit has impacted our entire community in a major way. Emmett told his story with honesty and integrity. That is pride.