Empathetic Shoulders

The Woodmont High School has been known for its ingenious inceptions alongside academic education. While addressing the students in the morning assembly, the student counsellor Mr Pasciuto talked about the school’s collaboration with other high schools of nearby districts, for an innovative project.

“Each participant would be assigned a partner from another school to share their real-life story with each other that reflects their actual personality. The peer is required to own this story and pen it down as their own narrative.”

He added, “This exercise is organized to build empathy and compassion in the participants, by exposing them to walk into each other’s shoes through authentic interactions during their respective story exchange”.

Tina, a tenth grader in Woodmont, participated in this program along with her classmates. She was assigned a partner named Amy, from Donlon High School.

Tina and Amy interacted on a video call first. Amy kicked-off with her side of the story, “This happened to me in the Science class last year. The teacher gave us various topics to choose from, to prepare a presentation. I have an Anxiety Disorder and so, I could not stand up to the teacher’s expectations, in my presentation”.

“The next day, a few of my classmates razzed about my ineptness, that was very hurtful. I, somehow, managed to save myself from that torture. Tina, I hope you can fathom my distress and help generate compassion towards people, who are already dealing with such medical or psychological challenges”.

Tina was emotional at that moment and gloomily said, “I am really sorry to hear about what you have gone through. I promise to constitute a conscientious expression for your story”.

Now it was Tina’s turn. She told Amy, “I have played basketball at different school levels in the past and gained laurels too. Being a proficient player, I was anticipating a chance at selections for the state team. But just because I am an immigrant from London, I was ignored”.

“Amy, I would be gratified if you can convey my side of the story that I have worked very hard to reach at a certain point in my game. Being an immigrant doesn’t make me less efficient. It shouldn’t take away my opportunities”.

Amy and Tina both got busy preparing for the D-day.

A fortnight later, they all gathered at Woodmont High School to present their narratives for their peer’s story. Each and every bestowal was awe-inspiring. The audience, barring no one, murmured, “This looks like my story”. Their reverence transpired through their tears. There was a lot of warmth and geniality in the room. Everyone was moved and well pleased.

Amy was touched, “Tina, I didn’t envisage such an appropriate portrayal. Thank you very much for an eloquent narrative”.  

Tina was truly satisfied too, after listening to Amy’s version. “ It’s a formidable rendition. I, myself, wouldn’t have been able to present it so effectually. Well, put my dear”. Amy and Tina became best of the friends… for life.

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Preeti Choudhary

Mother of a ‘soon to be a teenager’ son, Preeti Choudhary has recently started to explore writing. She enjoys writing poems.
Preeti Choudhary

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