Every day at White Mountain starts with a Morning Reading in the Lovejoy Chapel where the entire community gathers together. Often times this looks like sharing a story, presenting a recent project or trip, or imparting some kind of lasting wisdom on the student body. While faculty members typically present, students are invited to take the stage in front of their peers. Recently, Judah Borges ‘20, took the center stage to share the importance of finding and using his voice at White Mountain. He shared the impact White Mountain has had on developing curiosity, courage and compassion; from his freshman roommate, to his teachers and Field Course experiences. Read more below about what sparked Judah’s interest to address the community through a Morning Reading.
What inspired you to address the community in a Morning Reading?
There were a variety of things that inspired me to give a Morning Reading. My main drive behind this, however, started with how I was raised. My dad continuously reiterated to my siblings and me, how special each one of us is. This would vary from him explaining the reasoning behind giving us our names, to what he expected of us as we grew. Individually, he would always address me as if I would be the greatest of the three which was, and still is, a lot of pressure. Because of his influence, I feel the need to be heard and make something of myself. If I don’t, then I feel like I am not living up to my full potential, whatever that might be.
In your own words, what was the message you were trying to convey?
The message that I was trying, and ultimately did convey, was how to always strive to be your best self. Personally, I understand that I am in a very privileged position compared to others who I grew up with. Throughout all of middle school, I had a very close group of friends, and when they heard I was going away to a school in NH they made it seem like I was flying off to the moon.
Now, when I look back on my middle school friend’s social media accounts, all I see are the stereotypical run-down minority teenagers. It is not easy to see or say, but it is true. Whether that be through using illegal substances, or through dropping out of school. I feel like I have to be my best self, simply because I can be. I need to represent my roots in the best light, because I know there aren’t too many people like me that can. I know that my situation might seem unique to some, but either way, I can’t see a reason why someone shouldn’t try to be their best self.
How did you decide on the topic of your presentation?
In the beginning, I had a very structured presentation filled with things that I had no true connection with. I quickly discovered that it is hard to present on something you don’t believe in. With help from Lawrence, I decided to take a more natural and meaningful approach which guided me to the things that I care about. In following this path, my presentation was born, which was put together the entire night prior to its showing.
What has been your most impactful White Mountain experience?
The most impactful experience I have had at White Mountain took place on my most recent Field Course. The Field Course focused on education and equality in the state of New Hampshire. What made this an impactful experience for me, was feeling inclined to speak and contribute. My group was almost equally divided in gender, but every time we visited a school, the conversations were always dominated by the females in the group. Three close friends and I were the males in the group. My friends were comfortable with sitting back and listening to people talk, but I felt differently. Lawrence happened to be one of the faculty leaders during that trip and he motivated me to engage deeply and ask questions.
What made this both difficult and impactful wasn’t really the actual participation and discussion, it was the stepping outside of my friend group’s matrix that made it memorable. I realized that I need to use the power and privilege I have to speak and use my voice.