Lifting Your Voice


Lucy Ke

On Friday, March 31st, the Gwynedd Mercy community had the honor of welcoming NBC anchor and Emmy Award-winning journalist, Tracy Davidson, along with distinguished author, coach, and speaker, Jen Croneberger, to present “Lifting Your V.O.I.C.E.” This program of women empowerment taught Gwynedd girls important life skills and strongly placed an emphasis on the crucial topic of mental health. The day, planned through the hard work of the leadership department and LEAD4CHANGE project of Scarlett Cosgrove ’24 and Grace Maguire ’24, was absolutely eye-opening, life-changing, and completely shifted the way I view many events encountered in life. With the five-letter acronym of GRACE in mind, the speakers shared lessons on how to navigate the world with gratitude, resilience, acceptance, confidence, and empathy. They would teach the girls how to lift their voices.

The first hour of the day was dedicated to gratitude. All students were given journals to decorate and answer prompts in. With the theme in mind, students creatively drew pictures of the people, places, and objects in their hearts that they were most thankful for. During the discussion, girls were hesitant and unsure of what to say at first, listing general ideas such as “my loved ones.” But soon enough, girls were sharing all sorts of personal connections they had, such as “my puppy,” “the color pink,” “sunsets,” and so much more. Moving on to the topic of resilience, girls learned how to be strong in different types of situations, especially during times when one can get frustrated very easily. They performed acting exercises to practice perseverance in all moments and were informed on how the brain vividly interprets scenarios but is not always right about them. Next, the hour dedicated to studying acceptance began with the serenity prayer, and students focused on “controlling the controllables” in life. One tip given by the presenters was to remove the word “but” in one’s vocabulary and replace it with the word “and.” With that, the speakers encouraged the girls to know that it is okay to be real and not perfect. They said, “And I am human.” Following this important lesson, the Gwynedd community focused on confidence. Studies have shown that girls have decreasing levels of confidence in their teenage years, and to fight against this, everyone, with the help of Mrs. Kristen Kane Ford ’00, made origami crafts with affirmations to be written on them. Gwynedd girls deeply impressed the Lifting Your V.O.I.C.E. team as they sang loudly and proudly to the song “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. They learned to embrace themselves confidently and powerfully. Finally, the presentation led to the element of empathy, and the girls heard about the importance of meeting others where they are and the impact of saying, “I love you.” The ripples of positivity are endless. When the day sadly came to a close, the school community exchanged letters. These notes, signed anonymously, would be opened by the recipients in times of struggle. They were each beautifully and lovingly written, and as the writer of the letter I was given says, “Know that moments pass and maybe tomorrow will look a bit brighter. You are strong and powerful enough to get through each and every moment. Thank you for being a person I aspire to be like.”