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The Looking Glass

Uncovering Montrosians’ Unique Talents

Abigail Finnerty '19, Contributing Writer

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What is a special talent?  The official definition of a special talent is a special aptitude, often athletic, creative, or artistic.  However,  I believe that a truly “special” talent should be meaningful to the person—even if others may not consider it unique or special.  I decided to explore my theory by interviewing several Montrosians about their special talents.

I first sat down with Anna Noon ‘19.  Anna was incredibly excited to share her talent, and I was equally thrilled to hear about it. Anna can hold her breath underwater while doing water tricks for long periods of time. How did she discover this talent? “I was at the pool with my friend, my sister, my sister’s best friend, and her dad.  I was dared by my sister’s best friend’s dad to beat his record of seven flips.  I did, and then I did nine flips, then ten.”  Anna lit up as she recounted her story, drawing both herself and me into that memory.

Next, I talked to Maria Jose “MaJo” Arena Dominguez ‘19. My interview with MaJo really fascinated me—she was incredibly candid and honest throughout.  When I asked if she had a special talent, MaJo simply answered: “I can bark like a dog.”  I was confused for a moment, because I thought that most people could bark like a dog.  I asked MaJo to bark for me, truthfully not expecting much.  Abruptly, MaJo barked and howled so realistically that both students and teachers thought a dog had entered the building.  I asked MaJo if she had ever barked in front of anyone before, and she charmingly answered: “Yes.  Right now to you.”  I laughed and encouraged her to bark for others as well.  Now, if you ask MaJo, she will bark for you on command.

Later, I decided to switch it up a bit by interviewing a teacher.  I asked Upper School Chemistry Mrs. Hofer if she had a special talent and if she would like to be interviewed about it.  Though she was hesitant at first, she eventually agreed.  Mrs. Hofer told me that her special talent was sewing.  She wasn’t sure if it was considered a special talent, but as someone who definitely struggles with sewing, I was impressed.  Mrs. Hofer shared the story of when she first learned to sew: “My grandmother taught me to sew when I was either eight or nine, and then I continued by myself by learning more patterns.”  Mrs. Hofer continues to teach her talent today. “I’ve given many sewing lessons to many young ladies, and I normally teach them to sew pajama pants,” she said.  She also told me: “Along with Mrs. Brenda Thordarson, Miss Bakhita Thordarson’s mother, I made thirty-four kimonos for Montrose’s production of The Mikado.  And, Mrs. Thordarson and I made numerous Montrose graduation gowns for the classes of ’09 and ’10.  You can see them gracefully adorning the lovely graduates in the photos hanging along the Upper School Hall.”   I appreciated how Mrs. Hofer was able to make her talent meaningful to her and share it with others.

I didn’t forget the Middle Schoolers, of course. Anna Kearney ‘22 volunteered to be interviewed.  Anna is 4’11” girl with a 10-ft personality that shone through our interview.  Anna enthusiastically told me: “My friends always say how good I am at talking to people.  I’m really comfortable talking to adults because I have a number of older siblings. Some of my sisters are in their thirties, so I’ve been around older people for a while.” Anna’s seemingly simple talent demonstrated my theory that “special talents” don’t have to be extraordinary—their meaning to the person is what makes them unique.

Each talent I heard about was so distinct from the rest. Despite the differences, each person radiated joy and love both for her talent and for sharing her talent with others. I believe my theory is true: anything can be a special talent.  

Catch Montrosians sharing unique special talents.

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Uncovering Montrosians’ Unique Talents