the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Margee Mahoney ’24
One thing that allows our community to grow is our Chapel Talks, or, as I like to think of them, story times. Each Tuesday and Friday, we gather in a dimly lit, beautiful building and listen to our peers’ innermost thoughts.
The reality of how special this tradition we share can easily be lost in the repetitive nature of our schedules and the sheer amount of stories we listen to each year. If you find yourself slipping into an apprehensive state of mind as you walk towards Chapel each week, as I sometimes do, I’d like to remind you of two things.
First: listening to a story is better than having another class.
Second: As a community, we can hear our peers' most riveting stories and life-changing advice. I was reminded of this fact while listening to Tia McDonald’s ’23 talk. It isn’t common to hear such a beautifully written, enormously meaningful speech, let alone from someone who is a part of our daily lives at Westminster.
I understand that sometimes Chapel may not be the most engaging event, but when presented with a speech like Tia’s, one which discusses such an emotional topic (the loneliness that so commonly seeps in at school, even when surrounded by people all the time [the irony is not lost on me]), we have to take notice and appreciate such beautifully conveyed ideas.
Yes, we go to a great school where it is a priority to be there for one another, but in a place where you’re constantly seen, it takes courage to let others actually see you when you are struggling. As Tia said, “happiness so often is the best decoy for despair.”
We have all had pivotal experiences here, both good and bad, that have helped us grow. Those moments may have been isolating and felt too big to carry alone. When loneliness says hello, even on a campus teeming with life, it is crucial to remind yourself that you are not alone. Every person here slips into that somber feeling, whether for minutes or months.
Second, I’d like to remind you that these moments help you grow, whether by yourself as you learn how to process even the scariest of emotions or with a friend, strengthening your bond as you share some of that weight.
And third, when you are ready, there is an entire community of people waiting to take some of that weight off your shoulders. We have designated story times for our community to open up to one another and share our best and worst experiences, to share who we are.
So, next time you dread that walk over to Chapel, remember why you’re there. Remember your commitment to listening and learning from this community when you entered Westminster School. And, of course, remember to enjoy the story time because you just might learn something.