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Gianna Meloni '17 encourages students to embrace who they are today at Father-Daughter Mass & Brunch

Yale graduate and former Division I ice hockey player - and one of Yale's best female ice hockey goalies in its history - Gianna Meloni '17 spoke to students and fathers attending the school's annual Father-Daughter Mass & Brunch, hosted by the Visitation Fathers Club on December 4. Now in graduate school and an author of a children's book about mental health, Gianna reflected on her experiences at Visitation and how they have influenced her today.

Ice hockey is "about 90% of my personality," said Gianna. She and classmate Veronika Pettey '17 co-founded the Ice Cubs as a club team their freshman year. In her sophomore year, she committed to Yale for athletics: "I didn’t know how to calculate the area of a cylinder, but I was allowed to decide the trajectory of the rest of my life," she said, of the moment.

Despite her uncertainty about what the future would hold, Gianna went on to publish creative writing pieces in Yale's publications, help her team go from unranked to the Frozen Four, and graduated with degrees in English & Psychology. Today, she attends Boston College on her way to becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. And despite all her accomplishments, Gianna said, "I sincerely believe that high school Gianna was so much cooler than every subsequent Gianna. High school Gianna heard the phrase 'be who you are and be that well' and owned it. ... The only regret I have is that I don’t remember her enough."

Gianna encouraged students to document their lives right now, in journals, in Snapchats, in social media posts - and to keep that close by, "because the you that you are right now is a very, very good you. And one day, you will miss her," she said.

That feeling is connected to mental health, something Gianna has been passionate about for years. "I ache to change the mental health culture, to provide an open space for emotional, spiritual, and mental growth. So everyone can be who they are and be that well," she said.

To that end, she concluded her speech by reminding all that "you can’t process your present without your past" and memories - of times like Kairos retreats, Marshmallow Roast, on the ice with teammates - are key to making sense of who you are, how much you've grown, and how much further you have to grow.

  • Spiritual Life