The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA


The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA


The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA



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Stories build bridges of empathy 

The second annual Story Bridge event, organized by the Collisions of Equity and Northborough-Southborough Schools, showcased unique and vulnerable stories from the community. 

Story Bridge is an event designed for people to connect through storytelling. Educator and Sontag Prize winner Adam Stumacher organized the event alongside award-winning author Jennifer De Leon. The event was held on Oct. 19 in the Black Box from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“The stories shared have something to do with identity,” De Leon said. “Often, when we hear identity we think about race or ethnicity. But it also is about language, culture and passion.” 

Eleven Northborough-Southborough community members shared stories about their journeys of overcoming obstacles regarding their identities.

“What’s the point of telling stories when bombs are falling?” Stumacher asked. “This work of building a bridge of story and empathy matters more than ever.”

The war going on in Israel and Palestine is dividing people all over the world. Still, there is value in utilizing storytelling as a form of self expression during these times to build unity.

“Use story as our medium,” De Leon said.

Stories Shared

Southborough resident and mom of two boys, Lisa D’Souza, talked about the challenges of parenting a “spirited child” and the stigma associated with mental conditions. 

“ADHD is your superpower,” D’Souza said. 

Interpreter Alegna Zavatti discussed the heart-wrenching stories she tells through translation. 

“There is something special when someone speaks your language,” Zavatti said.

Pediatrician and Southborough resident Safdar Medina addressed the avoidance of his Islamic heritage growing up. 

“The teacher paused at my name and my name only,” Medina said.

Northborough mom, psychologist and educator Jennifer Lipton-O’Connor shared her story as a daughter who lost her mother to cancer. 

“It’s just hair,” Lipton-O’Connor began, as she described observing her mother’s “hair falling down and tears falling too.” 

As the story unraveled, she delved into the deeper significance of her mother’s hair loss and its impact on Lipton-O’Connor. 

Algonquin senior Bryn Domolky reflected on her career in the male-dominated sport of hockey and her journey as she learned to “go out there and remind them how to win like a girl.”

First-generation immigrant and speech pathologist Sofia Ginsburg discussed language barriers, comparing it to a game of charades.

“Maybe it never was about the words I was trying to say…. But all the words I didn’t want to say,” Ginsburg said.

Software engineer and proud parent of two boys Manasi Waghmare talked about the culture of arranged marriage in India and her experience nervously emailing an unknown boy back and forth.

“Fourteen years later I’m telling you the story of how I met my husband,” Waghmare said.

College admission essay reviewer and testing coordinator Joelle Gilmore spoke out on her once isolating journey of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and feeling like “the saddest person in the happiest place in the world [Disney].” She navigates to find support through sharing her chronic illness to loved ones.

Southborough father Tafari O’Meally shared how his childhood in the Bronx impacted him as an immigrant from Jamaica desiring education. 

“It was the ’90s and I guess violence was everywhere,” O’Meally said. 

Algonquin sophomore Liah Biran immigrated from Israel at age six and joined the English Language (EL) Program, where she is educated about American culture and tries to overcome the shame she feels surrounding her cultural roots. 

“The teacher took the crayon from my hand,” she said, describing a time when a teacher said her method of drawing stars, the Star of David, was wrong. 

Jollson Varghese is a software engineer and parent who tries “to walk in my dad’s shoes,” making sacrifices for his children the way he remembers his father doing. 

“What did my dad compromise for my new shoes? Was it his lunch?” Varghese asked.

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A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

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About the Contributors
Lila Shields, Recruitment Manager
Lila joined journalism her freshman year and has continued to enhance her knowledge when it comes to literature. Currently she is the assistant editor for opinion. She is the secretary for the class of 2025 and is fond of leadership positions. Some of her hobbies include reading poetry, listening to music, nature walks and watching horror movies.
Laura White, Staff Photographer
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    RyanOct 28, 2023 at 12:18 am

    Lila Shields is such an amazing writer and journalist. Her stories are so captivating and informative as they educate the community on events that occur in our daily lives.