By Carina Cole ’22 News Reporter
The importance of saying “Hello.” Selina Xue ‘20 used this idea to emphasize the rich knowledge that can come from taking a small risk. Xue talked about using familiar hobbies to connect with the unfamiliar. Xue harnessed her passion for photography to document the people who use the services of the Chambersburg Cold Weather Drop-in Shelter, one of numerous homeless shelters in Mercersburg’s surrounding towns. She used her volunteer work as a way to connect with an unseen community by reaching outside of the bubble of privilege that we live in on campus – and saying “Hello.”
In presenting her story, Xue tackled the daunting challenge of speaking in front of the entire school, though ultimately she was confident that Mercersburg’s community would embrace her project and in turn her risk. “I hope my Mercersburg story inspires other members of the community to speak about their story, and use their hobbies as a way to get involved in unique ways,” Xue said.
Her involvement with the shelter sparked fundraisers as well as a dance piece on homelessness, choreographed by Mercersburg’s Director of Dance Denise Dalton, one that will be performed in the Fall Dance Concert. Xue said, “I hope that Mercersburg stories will allow students with a smaller presence to share their experiences and opinions freely.”
“I love the idea of Mercersburg stories and how they show that so much learning can happen outside of the classroom as well as inside the classroom,” English teacher Michelle Poacelli said. “The real world connections students are able to make through experiences like Selina’s are incredibly important and show the power of vulnerability.” Poacelli helped Xue edit her photo journal project and recognized the courage that went into the project from its start at the shelter to its sharing in the Simon Theatre.
Joshua Terris ‘22 said, “I saw Xue’s speech as a method of inspiring the community by giving us courage to explore new ideas.”