VIA at Edgefield is more about what students are passionate about and not what teachers want them to do. It’s about having initiative, so there’s little handholding and spoonfeeding from the teachers. My teachers impressed upon me that I had to figure out a cause that screamed out to me, and not just do the work to clock in the hours or check the boxes.

The first project I was involved in was with my seniors. We tackled the topic of mental health, after being inspired by a local play, Off Centre, which is about two patients who were struggling with depression and finding acceptance in society. 

Our objective was to create a space for EFSS students to speak up if they were troubled or depressed, and take away the stigma of talking about it. It was not about trying to solve their depression, or telling them what to do. We gave them a ‘space’ to share their problems, and we closed the loop with a podcast where our school counsellor would respond to their questions or problems. We received a lot of responses about friendship woes and stress with studies and parents. I was surprised at the depth of the responses.

This year, we had a great idea to provide online enrichment workshops for underprivileged kids this year. But unfortunately, we could not execute it due to the pandemic. In future, I’d like to do a project to help ex-convicts. 

VIA has taught me to be more aware of the people around me who need help. And it’s not a lot for us to give them that help. If we can, then we should.

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