The TableTalk 10: an Interview with Grace Pettee

Interviewing Grace Pettee, Founder | TableTalk Pine Crest School

Featuring Grace Pettee, TableTalk Pine Crest School

Welcome to our brand new interview series: The TableTalk 10! Ever wonder what the impetus was behind our student leaders deciding to start or join TableTalk on their campuses? Curious about what inspires our leaders to go out and catalyze their communities to connect through conversation?

Below, you’ll find a series of questions answered and stories told by our student leaders. Read about their journeys firsthand and we hope this interview inspires you to #JoinTheConversation and become a TableTalk leader. Enjoy our first inTTerview for The TableTalk 10 with the President of TableTalk Pine Crest School, Grace Pettee.

1.What is something about yourself that you wouldn’t know until someone asked?

I’m super accident prone! When I was younger I used to break my arm every year. So far, I’ve broken it 6 times. I’ve also torn my ACL and had two concussions! The people at the doctor’s office are like my best friends.

2.What is your favorite thing to talk about or what is a topic you are passionate about? Why?

Interestingly enough, I love talking about the origin of language. The debate of thought before language or language before thought is very interesting to me. Every time we bring up this simple conversation at an event it gets everyone engaged. So many people have different ways of looking at the debate that each time my viewpoint changes. It is interesting to note that there is still no correct answer. Therefore, it’s a conversation that in theory that could just keep going on forever.

3.Tell us about a time when you reached out and met someone new.

During our first TableTalk of the 2017 year, I sat down with a new student from Australia. Her name was Ai and it was her first day at an American school. She said I was the first “ authentic blonde” she’s ever met! Throughout the school year, I was lucky enough to had a class with her. Everyday in English, she would sit next to me and my friends. TableTalk allowed us to create a bond that we still hold it this day. Overall, it was a super cool experience to welcome her to her new home!

4.What has been your favorite TableTalk conversation? What made it so special?

At my first TableTalk, students at my school were discussing the pressures of being a teenager. I sat down, and began to listen. Students from different grades began to sit down and share their points of view. It was comments like “I’m nervous to see what college I get into!”, and “Is anyone else stressed about the SAT this weekend?”. I I realized that all of these individuals could have so much in common without knowing each other. This was the first time when I truly understood what TableTalk was about. It was a moment when everything in the world seemed so small. By having this simple conversation, I was able to realize that my high school wasn’t so big after all.

5.What is your dream TableTalk event? Describe it.

My dream TableTalk event would have to be an event where a student from every country in the world sat down at a table and began sharing ideas. We would discuss our various cultures and backgrounds. Questions like “Where do you come from?”, and What’s your family’s story?”. By being able to share OUR own stories, the connections between people of different origins would bring them closer in effect. Of course, this event would take place on a beach with yummy treats for everyone to enjoy.

6. Why did you decide to start or join TableTalk on your campus?

I decided to join TableTalk on my campus for the sole purpose of loving to talk. I like hearing other people’s stories and opinions. TableTalk can be for anyone, by anyone, and that is what I have learned to love about it the most. Additionally, I’m very passionate about making the world a better place. Being able to have civilized conversation regarding a harsh topic is something I hope to achieve.

7. How has TableTalk helped you grow as an individual?

TableTalk has helped me learn to see the other side of an opinion. People come to a conversation with many different viewpoints and perspectives. TableTalk has allowed me to look through other people’s lenses and learn to accept differences.

8. What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your TableTalk chapter?

The most challenging aspect of starting the Pine Crest chapter has been ensuring that we have a large enough group at the table. Sometimes with everyone’s busy schedules it can be difficult to convince someone to sit down and talk for 30 minutes!

9. How do you balance being a TableTalk facilitator with voicing your own opinions?

Learning to understand others opinions is something that must be accomplished before becoming a TableTalk facilitator. People at the table must know that they are in a safe and understanding environment to voice their thoughts. However, adding your own viewpoints in a polite manner is something that I do to make sure the conversation stays relevant.

10. What do you hope your TableTalk legacy will be?

I hope my TableTalk legacy will be creating a safe, fun, and open environment for people at the “Pine”. In times of need, I hope TableTalk can be a safe space for students to come together and talk about important issues throughout the world and their lives. It is imperative that teenagers, like those at my high school, have the ability to connect with new people. Although everyone has a different opinion and view point, I hope that TableTalk at PC will be able to facilitate the conversation in a friendly and meaningful way.