Head Principal Nathanael Hostetler Encourages FHN to Stand Up for Others


Credit to Ashlynn Perez

Head principal Nathanael Hostetler speaks at the Black Voices Matter march over the summer.

By Jordayn York

When students walk through the halls of their high school, they should feel safe. That’s why on June 16, students and faculty from all over FHSD held a BLM (Black Lives Matter) March on Mid Rivers Mall Drive and went to the Calvary Church parking lot to give speeches calling for racial acceptance and encouragement in schools. Head principal Nathan Hostetler spoke at the march.

“I was actually contacted during the initial lockdown,” Hostetler said. “I was interestingly at one of those drive-through birthday party things and one of our teachers, a lady named Jani Wilkens, pulled by and she rolled down her window. She said ‘Hey, would you be interested in being a part of this?’ and she explained a little bit of what it was. I said, ‘Absolutely, just shoot me an email and let me know’, and then it kind of just developed from there.”

Wilkens organized the BLM march and spread the word for people to come together. After a while of organizing with Hostetler, they were able to meet and put on the event. Many people joined the march and were able to listen to various speakers discuss equality in education.

“Because we have such a diverse population at FHN, we need to show support for everyone regardless of gender, race, sexuality and religion,” senior Brandi Stover, who attended the march, said. “We call ourselves a community, and our community is strengthened through our support of our peers.” 

While the march had a good turn-out and left a powerful impact on the hearts of those who attended, there was more to be done in the FHN community specifically, dealing with racism in the school.

“There are times over the last three years when I’ve dealt with overt racism, where students have chosen to use the n-word to other students, and we’ve dealt with that,” Hostetler said. “The fact that those words are used, and that we still see those behaviors mean that there are still underlying attitudes, and I have to believe those incidents where those kinds of slurs are used, are really just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more to it. There’s more to racism in this place than just those few instances. I can’t fix everything – that’s not how this works – but my job is to help make those conversations possible, or help people start to work through the process of seeing one another as fully human.”

 In the long-term to really change the way that people relate to one another at FHN, he feels that the best way to make everyone feel safe all of the time.

“Every student here is a human being and every one of those human beings is no more or less important than my own children,” Hostetler said. “I want my own children and everybody else to have every possible advantage. They can really be able to pursue their own dreams to find their own lives until people feel like they can be fully and authentically themselves in this space.”

Hostetler feels there are people who have to hide a part of themselves in order to feel like they belong and in order to have full access to everything at FHN, and the FHN community should be able to fix that. 

“It’s just not okay, the way African-American people are treated in this country. It’s simply not and so it’s important to make sure that we stand up for those whose voices are not heard,” Hostetler said.