By Katie Reilly ’11
I remember the first chapel speeches that I listened to as a freshman. Students spoke about the benefits of doodling, battles against eating disorders and their passion for music. As I sat in the balcony of the chapel, I listened to students and teachers bare their soul, sharing a personal experience and imparting words of wisdom. Whether the words elicited a serious, contemplative response or prompted laughter from the attentive audience, they were different and memorable in their own right.
Giving a chapel speech seems to be a rite of passage for many seniors, who are given the perfect platform from which to reflect on their Govs experience before it comes to a close. For underclassmen and seniors, alike, a chapel speech provides an opportunity to shed light upon a personal interest, a background, and a personality that is rarely seen by members of the community. With each chapel speech, the community learns something new about the speaker, from their obsession with lying to their relationship with parents and their approach to religious beliefs.
Ideally, members of the audience leave the chapel with a greater understanding, appreciation and perspective than when they entered. And that is what is great about chapel. Chapel talks really affect those who listen to them and they have a unique ability to prompt discussion. This week is just one example. Students discussed religion during the days following the talk, speaking about their own religion as well as those of others.
Whether we leave chapel with an uplifted outlook or an understanding of hardship, everyone takes something away from the speech, as evidenced by the fact that, four years later, I still remember the chapel speakers and their speeches from my freshman year.