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“Grey’s Anatomy” Star, Alum Visits Seven Hills for Civic Engagement Day

E.R. Fightmaster, a 2010 graduate of The Seven Hills School, spoke to students in The Schiff Center about media representation and the importance of empathy as part of their keynote speech for Civic Engagement Day, focusing on media literacy.

“You are watching television because you have empathy for the people on your screen. If your screen has a lot of diverse representation, then you are developing empathy for different people. Empathy is this thing that fills your cup while filling the cups of other people. Empathy is what makes you charismatic, it is what makes you warm. Empathy takes your talent to a level that people want to see it. It is all about empathy,” they said.

Fightmaster, the first nonbinary cast member on “Grey’s Anatomy,” talked about how being exposed to diversity helped them realize their own identity.

“When you are encountering people who are not like you, you have the unique opportunity of learning more about yourself,” they said.

The day was planned and organized by English teacher Marielle Newton, and history teachers Eric O’Connor and Kyla Young. As part of the day, students participated in a media representation game show and a media literacy escape room. Fightmaster answered student questions over lunch and did improv with theater teacher Marc Raia’s improv class.

Students ended the day by filming video reflections of their takeaways of what the learned.

Civic Engagement Day is part of the initiative driven by the $250,000 matching grant Seven Hills received from the E.E. Ford Foundation in 2019. Each Civic Engagement Day is centered around a specific topic, such as anti-racism and diversity, consumerism and global warming, and mental health.

“Our hope for the day was that students will better understand the impact their media choices have on their worldview. This is all part of our desire to increase student awareness and understanding of their place in society and how they might influence what is happening in the world around them,” said Director of Experiential Learning Nick Francis.