CHS Senior "Will Not Be Silenced"
CHS senior Katie Stalling has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Trumbull Fine Arts Literary Competition in the category of nonfiction.
Her personal essay, “How My Darkness Led Me to a Greater Purpose,” explores the pain she endured as the subject of cruel, incessant bullying at a previous school – and the redemption she’s found by discovering her voice.
“As I wrote this essay, my intention was simply to take a step towards reaching closure in a situation where I felt silenced,” Katie reflects. “By sharing my story, this was the only way I felt I could be heard.”
CHS English teacher encouraged her to submit her essay to the competition, and Mrs. Baylis provided some editorial advice as well. And, while Katie was surprised and thrilled to win the competition, she’s most hopeful that others will benefit from reading about her story. “I am genuinely so grateful that my truth gets to be shared with everyone,” she says.
An important theme of the essay is God’s ability to redeem incredible pain, using it for good. “This is a testimony to the faithfulness of God,” she explains. “He will open your heart to every scar and use it to change lives if you use your voice!”
In her case, Katie’s experiences have led her on a path to becoming a teacher – one, she says in her essay, who guards the emotional safety for her students, cultivating a culture of kindness and compassion. “I want to dedicate my life to be a voice for the millions of kids who do not have enough courage to speak for themselves,” she writes. “I will not be silenced.”
Having found her voice, she is raising it courageously, determined to “inspire anyone who is struggling to find purpose in their brokenness, and to bring awareness to the dark side of bullying and harassment.”
Katie’s essay was also published in the inaugural issue of CHS’s literary magazine, Paper + Ink.