Alumni Update: Mónica Guzmán (‘01)
Bridge-builder, author, journalist… SAINT. Mónica Guzmán (‘01) uses curiosity as an approach to helping bridge the political divide in our country. “Asking ‘why?’ shows curiosity. But not just any curiosity. A curiosity about people whose whole world view is not just different from yours, but opposed,” Mónica explained in her recent TEDxSeattle Talk. In this talk, she shares examples of how conversations focused on understanding without judgment can help to foster dialogue between people of opposing viewpoints. She demonstrates the importance of listening as a way of showing people they matter and how getting curious about how someone came to their beliefs, versus why they believe them, can lead to a radical change.
Now the Director of Digital & Storytelling at “Braver Angels” and author of the recent book, I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, Mónica credits her experience at St. Thomas for giving her roots. One such lesson came from her Junior Speech, an annual cross-curriculum project between Social Studies and English classes. This rite of passage at STA calls for students to select a topic of interest in their Social Studies classes, prepare a written speech in English class, and then present to an audience of their peers. “I had never fully understood the power of passion, and the power of research, and the power of storytelling until I found myself really drawn to the topic of my speech.” Mónica chose to focus on the battle between Orson Welles, filmmaker of Citizen Kane, and William Randolph Hearst of Hearst Communications. Overcoming her nerves and delivering a speech to the whole school on a topic about which she was so enthusiastic served as the roots to her understanding that passion and voice have so much power.
Mónica also considers Mr. McCafferty’s Ethics class a “game changer” in her life. It taught her that figuring out what is right and wrong is a question that keeps evolving and one about which we should constantly be vigilant. Beyond the persistence and challenging work that Mónica learned in the classroom, she is also grateful for the life-long friendships she formed at STA. Those friends have been there through many of her life’s milestones, and she is always excited to see what they are doing in the world.
To read more about Mónica’s work, to listen to her appearances on TEDxSeattle and other media, and to order her book, visit her website: https://moniguzman.com/.
If you are interested in sharing your story in a future Alumni Spotlight, please contact Sarah McCluskey, Assistant Director of Advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the St. Thomas Aquinas High School alumni webpage! Our alumni are a driving force behind the continued advancement of the mission of our school.
Get Involved: Volunteering at St. Thomas Aquinas High School is a fun and rewarding way to help the school, and our alumni have the best perspective to lend a hand! There are many ways to get involved- Class Agents, Saints Taking Action Day of Service, Alumni Leadership Council, reunion and event planning and more!
Attend an Event: Alumni are invited to a variety of events and gatherings throughout the year- reunions, regional events, Career Day, Young Alumni Day, Homecoming and more. We hope you will join us at a gathering this year!
For more ways to get involved or stay connected, please reach out to Dr. Danny Richer, Director of Admission and Advancement.