Honor Your Truth and Fuel it with Passion

2022 Goodyear Fellow Claudine Oriol discovered her love of the English language the moment she read the word “ethereal” in 1991 Goodyear Fellow Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, “That was my first fancy word, and let me tell you I used that word,” she laughed as she shared the memory with students and faculty during an assembly last Thursday morning. “Everything was ethereal. I looked that word up and that's when I fell in love with the English language. I realized at a very young age that what I wanted to do was to be a storyteller. I wanted to bring characters to life. I wanted to write. I wanted to perform.”
But Oriol’s career path was a winding one that started with electrical engineering rather than storytelling, and though she excelled, something always seemed to be missing. “There is what I call a secret ingredient in life,” shared Oriol. “That ingredient that no matter what happens, it pushes you forward. That ingredient is passion. I understood I had to work hard and excel, but when you don't have passion, if you're not being true to yourself, then everything just becomes something that you do — even when you do it well. So I would excel in everything I did, but there was no passion, there was no heart, and it was always like ‘Okay, what's next?’” 

So Oriol went from being an engineer to a translator to managing nightclubs, among other things, until she began to ask herself, “What was that thing that no matter where I was, no matter what I was studying, that I always went back to, and I realized it was performing, acting, writing. I realized there was this creator inside of me that I had been stifling and I'm like ‘Okay, that's it.’”

This revelation was what brought Oriol first to acting and then to her true passion project, the making of Resilient Hearts, a documentary highlighting the culture, history, and resilience of the Haitian people after the January 2010 earthquake (which she had screened for Foxcroft students and members of the community the evening before). But her revelation did not mean that the pursuit of her passion was without obstacles. “Passion allows you to overcome obstacles because you realize that the things happening to you are not setbacks,” she explains “They're teaching you, they're happening for you." 

“This documentary, though it came with a lot of obstacles, did allow me to get to know myself better,” shared Oriol as her talk came to a close. “It did allow me to become stronger. It did allow me to not only give a voice to the voiceless but also to find a greater voice within. I was honoring my own truth and I was fueling that with passion.”

In addition to screening her documentary and speaking with the Foxcroft community, Oriol visited Video Production and French classes and enjoyed lunch with our Global Studies Concentration students.

Thank you to Ms. Oriol for her time and to the Alison Harrison Goodyear ’29 Fellowship Program for providing this wonderful experience for our community.
If you were unable to join us for the in-person screening of Resilient Hearts, you can view the film in its entirety on YouTube. The film is a documentary of hope and triumph; however, please note there are graphic images and scenes of the aftermath of the earthquake that some viewers may find challenging to watch.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.