Portrait of the Graduate: Creating a Page Turner

Davidson Academy (Nashville, TN)

When you think of Nashville, you may think of the Grand Ole Opry, the Parthenon, and hot chicken. (And if you haven’t had hot chicken before, I highly recommend it).

Your first thought, however, may not be the Music City’s private-independent school landscape.

But within this city of nearly 700,000 (1.8 million if you count the metro area), there is a thriving private school population. In fact, there are nearly 20 private schools that reside within the Nashville city limits.

The leaders of Davidson Academy, a PreK3 through Grade 12 co-ed day school located in Nashville, knew that to stay competitive in such a crowded private-independent school market, they needed a way to stand out from the competition.

With this goal in mind, the school’s Admission, Marketing Communications, and Development teams came together to lead the creation of Davidson Academy’s Portrait of a Graduate.

Although the original Portrait was drafted in 2014, it still resonates today:

A Davidson Academy graduate …

  • Is educated and educable and intellectually engaged with past, present. local, and global events
  • Synthesizes ideas and concepts into coherent statements, arguments, and positions
  • Is physically, emotionally, and spiritually equipped to pursue his or her life’s calling
  • Acts with integrity, honesty, and moral thoughtfulness
  • Is prepared to use education and training for the greater good
  • Engages and discerns knowledge and information with a Christ-centered worldview
  • Describes, experiences, and exhibits divine grace
  • Articulates the Gospel and God’s plan for individual and global redemption

2015magOnce the Portrait was complete, the school wasted no time in making it a focal point of its marketing efforts.

In the spring of 2015, the Portrait of a Graduate was the centerpiece of Davidson Academy magazine, featuring four alumni who exemplify the Portrait’s characteristics.

The content of the magazine included mission-focused Q&As that highlighted how the school made a positive impact on each alum’s life.

Again in 2017, the school profiled five alums as Portraits of the Davidson Academy Graduate — all with powerful stories that remind families why they initially enrolled in the school, and how their philanthropic gifts make an impact.

What’s particularly unique about Davidson Academy’s magazine profiles is that alumni are allowed to supply their own photos and to write their own stories.  The school edits none of their content.

And while the magazine helps reinforce the school’s Portrait of the Graduate, it isn’t the only tool Davidson Academy uses to promote it.

Jason McGehee, Davidson Academy’s Director of Admission, said that the Portrait “is a key piece of promotion we give to every prospective family as well as our current families. We are a product-oriented school, so showing families what kind of student we are producing is complementary to our mission and desired outcomes.”

To download Davidson Academy’s Fall 2017 magazine, click here.

Has your school showcased your Portrait of the Graduate in a unique way through digital, print, or word-of-mouth marketing? Please let me know so I can feature you here

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