Humans of Harker: Connections

Rithi Jayam treasures the friendships created through performing arts and sports

%E2%80%9CI+think+letting+go+of+the+people+that+I+thought+meant+the+most+to+me+but+were+really+bad+for+me+and+toxic+%E2%80%94+just+letting+them+go+was+a+really+big+decision%E2%80%A6+I+talked+to+my+friends+and+I+took+a+step+back+and+realized+what+was+happening.+%5BNow%5D+I+feel+better%2C+I+feel+free.+I+feel+like+I+can+make+mature+decisions+even+though+adults+may+not+think+so.+I+feel+like+I+can+do+anything.+I%E2%80%99m+confident+in+myself+to+make+the+right+decision%2C%E2%80%9D+Rithi+Jayam+%2812%29+said.+
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Humans of Harker: Connections

“I think letting go of the people that I thought meant the most to me but were really bad for me and toxic — just letting them go was a really big decision… I talked to my friends and I took a step back and realized what was happening. [Now] I feel better, I feel free. I feel like I can make mature decisions even though adults may not think so. I feel like I can do anything. I’m confident in myself to make the right decision,” Rithi Jayam (12) said.

“I think letting go of the people that I thought meant the most to me but were really bad for me and toxic — just letting them go was a really big decision… I talked to my friends and I took a step back and realized what was happening. [Now] I feel better, I feel free. I feel like I can make mature decisions even though adults may not think so. I feel like I can do anything. I’m confident in myself to make the right decision,” Rithi Jayam (12) said.

Emily Tan

“I think letting go of the people that I thought meant the most to me but were really bad for me and toxic — just letting them go was a really big decision… I talked to my friends and I took a step back and realized what was happening. [Now] I feel better, I feel free. I feel like I can make mature decisions even though adults may not think so. I feel like I can do anything. I’m confident in myself to make the right decision,” Rithi Jayam (12) said.

Emily Tan

Emily Tan

“I think letting go of the people that I thought meant the most to me but were really bad for me and toxic — just letting them go was a really big decision… I talked to my friends and I took a step back and realized what was happening. [Now] I feel better, I feel free. I feel like I can make mature decisions even though adults may not think so. I feel like I can do anything. I’m confident in myself to make the right decision,” Rithi Jayam (12) said.

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On the stage at matriculation in front of the entire student body, Rithi Jayam (12) stands with the rest of Cantilena as the group prepares to sing Stephen Hatfield’s “Ain’t That News.” After a short intro, Rithi starts singing, sleek, black hair flowing down her shoulders and velvet red dress flaring out, forming gentle folds. As the song progresses, she sways to the music, knee bouncing to the rhythm, head nodding to follow the flow of the song. Cheers of applause ring out through the Quad as the performance comes to an end, and Rithi takes a bow with her fellow singers, a wide smile spread across her face.

Many may know her from theatrical productions like the musical or from Cantilena, but Rithi started her singing journey in a completely different genre, classical Indian music, before switching over to Western music.

“We’re pretty rooted in our culture and our religion, especially the fact that I go to India every summer,” Rithi said. “I kept visiting and my grandparents were like, ‘Oh my god, you should totally do this.’ So I took it up for a little bit.”

Her journey hasn’t been without any challenges, some of which were out of her control. In freshman year, Rithi auditioned for Cantilena but didn’t make the cut because of a bad cough. She was able to come back from the setback and, in her sophomore year, her true abilities were brought to light and she has been further developing her skills since then with Susan Nace, performing arts teacher and advisor of Cantilena who has fully witnessed Rithi’s growth.

“All voices grow, and it takes a while for the human voice to fully mature. So, with Rithi, she started off with a very young voice and it’s beginning now to come into its adult voice,” she said. “Rithi has been right on track. She’s been very dedicated in her music and where she is now is where we expect her to be.”

Although singing in Cantilena has been an enjoyable experience, there are challenges that come with it as well, one of them being that many of the songs have difficult rhythms and no words, making them hard to memorize while others are in different languages like French, Latin, and Hindi.

Through performing arts, Rithi has also made connections that have lasted throughout high school. Neha Premkumar (12) says that Rithi is not only a reliable and helpful friend, but also someone who has showed her how to be a better friend herself.

“I think she’s taught me to deal with conflict really well because she’s guided me through moments of conflict, I’ve guided her through moments of conflict,” she said. “She’s really taught me how to be a good friend, like how to appreciate the people in real life who are just constantly there. . . Rithi just taught me to look at my life as it is and just appreciate the people who are there and are constantly putting effort, and Rithi is one of those people.”

Like performing arts, soccer also emphasizes relationships between people, and Rithi believes that soccer isn’t about being the MVP but that it is more about the friendships and bonds made through countless practices and games, regardless of the outcome.

“We have a few team dinners [for team bonding]. Sometimes they’re not that formal, we just go to Five Guys after a game on a Friday night,” she said. “We just hang out there for about an hour and then we just go home and that’s one of the best things that we do… I like playing, and I might not be one of the best players, but it’s just fun being with a bunch of my friends because a lot of them do play. I don’t know, I just like the teamwork. It’s really fun.”

Through experiences with tensions between friends, Rithi has realized that she needs to be the “bigger person” and make important but often difficult decisions to resolve the situation; she has also become more self-assured in her own judgement.

“I think letting go of the people that I thought meant the most to me but were really bad for me and toxic — just letting them go was a really big decision… I talked to my friends and I took a step back and realized what was happening,” she said. “[Now] I feel better, I feel free. I feel like I can make mature decisions even though adults may not think so. I feel like I can do anything. I’m confident in myself to make the right decision.”