A pinch of sweetness: New Payton compliments Instagram page brings light to troubling times

By Bella Watts, Editor-in-Chief

As the Payton community grapples with the endurance required by remote learning, it is of no surprise that students feel disheartened as they have had to trade the trademark red file lockers for bedrooms, east cafe banter with kitchen Zoom calls, and train line trips for walks around the block.

But that doesn’t mean individuals have stopped working to strengthen school camaraderie or, of course, bring joy to their peers. “My friend had made a page and I realized how beneficial it would be to the Payton community,” said the administrator of the “Payton Compliments” Instagram page, which has amounted to over 435 followers in the span of roughly four weeks. In order to preserve the spirited austere of the page, the interviewee has opted to stay anonymous. While remote learning “did not play a huge factor into [the page] … because the idea is to help boost morale and to show people that  even though we can’t be person, they are appreciated by many.” Each post of the blue and orange framed pages are lined with a single entry, and even though its recipients are named, the sender’s information is privatized, made known only through a Google Form between students and student leaders. “It felt honestly really nice to get the notifications that I’d been complimented and then read the posts,” said Ava Berkwitz ’21, two time recipient of a compliment. “Especially in such a busy and uncertain time, they let me take moments to pause and smile and feel grateful for the people surrounding me.”

Still, just as the community doesn’t come without thorns, the process has not always been rosy as the “occasional rude DM, or people submitting things that aren’t considered compliments” occur. But considering the over 400 pages of kind words and joint memories, it is sure that such a stain is easily removed by doses of kindness, so often ignored or made difficult during this time. Even though “remote learning did play a huge factor into [creating the account] … the idea is to help boost morale and to show people that even though we can’t be in person, they are appreciated by many.” And for that, a little more sweetness sprinkles the imagined hallways of our virtual place on Wells Street.

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