Longo’s story of overpromising and miraculously delivering was one of several tales spun by UVA staff, students and members of the community for “Double Take,” a program based on “The Moth” storytelling format and brought to UVA by President Jim Ryan in 2018.
The annual event’s goal, according to Ryan, is to create an opportunity to explore “the power of stories as a way to build bridges and as a way to build connections. If you want to understand someone else, you need to know their story, or at least one of their stories.”
Here’s Longo’s story:
Others, like School of Architecture Dean Malo André Hutson, revealed personal family stories. Hutson told about how, as a kid, he trailed his grandfather everywhere. And how his grandfather later returned the love.
When Hutson was accepted to college, but couldn’t afford to fly or drive the hundreds of miles to the campus, his grandfather loaded Hutson into a motorhome and took the scenic route. That provided the trip Hutson needed, and a lifetime of memories he has cherished.
Student Charles Ellison told the crowd about how, at 13, he was diagnosed with a type of thyroid cancer. At the time, he didn’t even know what a thyroid was.
He spoke about how being labeled a “cancer survivor” is indeed a badge of honor, but it’s also a narrow description of a student who has amassed wide experiences.
“I don’t want you to call me a ‘cancer survivor,’ even if I am proud to be one,” Ellison said. “I just want you to call me Charles, a Camp Kesem director, a powerlifter, a student, a son, a brother, a cousin, a storyteller.”
Dipisha Kc Khatri spoke about growing up in a family where her mother sometimes worked four jobs to stay afloat. Yet her mother instilled in the family refugees from Bhutan who had to give up nearly all they owned to come to America that there were people less fortunate than they were, and they had an obligation to help, even if it meant giving away some of their belongings. She remembers scavenging items from their apartment to give to a man in a Walmart parking lot. As refugees, Kc Khatri told the crowd, their family lost their homes, their property and, for the older generation, the futures they planned. But for Kc Khatri, her mother’s effort to seek a better life for her daughter led Kc Khatri to UVA.
“My mom’s … decision led to her losing everything in order for me to have everything,” she said. “In this country where I can choose to be anything, without a doubt, each and every day I will always choose to be my mother’s daughter.
Here are the rest of the evening’s stories:
Juandiego Wade, vice mayor of Charlottesville
Tasia Courts, College of Arts & Sciences student