March 2018 Bell

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2018 March Trip... The Last Hoorah

Article & Photo: Gabriella Tosone ’20   |  Video: Michaela Domino ’20

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Welcoming Future Tigers

Article & Photo: Megan Swanson ’21

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  • On March 30, April 3, and April 6 the Suffield Academy community will welcomed a total of over 150 recently accepted tigers and their families as they revisited the school before making their final decisions on where to attend high school next year. These events have been in the works for months now, with official plans beginning to get set in place around January. The admissions committee has been working hard to put together all of the small details and they are excited to see it all come together. 
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    Choosing dates for students to revisit can sometimes be a challenging task for the admissions office, as the deadline for the first deposit is April 10 and classes resume on March 27 after spring break. They also have to work around other school events, but their hope is that families are available to attend one of the three dates. Some of the student events planned for each date include attending classes, listening to current student performances, going to a student panel, hearing more about academics at Suffield from Sara Yeager, and meeting their possible future coaches and teachers at the activities fair.

    The parents are also given a schedule for events, which are hosted by Charlie Cahn P’18. Each prospective student is matched up with a host student who has similar interests in sports or the arts. These host students and the tour guide leaders play a significant role in conveying all that Suffield Academy values and has to offer to students and their families. Associate Director of Admissions Amy Samenuk ’09 notes that, “The Suffield Academy community is incredible to watch during these three days. Families choose Suffield because of the amazing people—both students and faculty- so really, the entire community is helping as we do our very best to make the day a wonderful experience for all revisiting families.” The admissions office is excited to showcase the Memorial construction project this year; it is their hope that when the future tigers see the progress that has been made since many of them visited in the fall, they will be eager to get on campus to take advantage of the beautiful new building. 

    We hosted many families from as close as Suffield, Connecticut to as far as countries across the globe. For some, it was their first time visiting and seeing the campus in person. For all of the families and students, whether they’ve seen the campus or not, this visit played an important role in their school decision. The Suffield Academy community members welcomed these future tigers as they moved forward in making their decision on where to call “home” for the rest of their high school years.


Telethon 2018

Article: Jenna Daly ’22 | Photo: Kaitlin Su

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Leaving a Legacy

Article: Sarah Swanson ’18  |  Photo: Juhi Rayonia ’18

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  • Nick Vardakas ’18 chose to speak about the influence Barry Cleary P’02, ’05 has had on his Suffield Academy experience in his senior chapel speech during the winter term. Following the speech, he shared, “From a compassionate coach on the court, to someone who becomes a friend off the court, Mr. Cleary made a large impact on my Suffield Academy experience. One of the major things he has helped me with is being a leader and playing with confidence on the court and this has also helped me be more of a leader in my life as well. 
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    It is no coincidence that Nick chose to speak about this influential teacher and coach this year as Mr. Cleary will conclude his 40 years working at Suffield Academy this spring when he “graduates” alongside the class of 2018. While he currently serves as the Dean of Faculty, he has taken on an unprecedented range of roles on campus spanning across several departments. He shared, “I have always preferred to work behind the scenes and it has never mattered to me who got the credit, as long as we were successful.  Former Headmaster Ken Lindfors once described me as the utility player that every team needs in order to be successful. In all of my various roles; advisor, admissions, assistant headmaster, director of college counseling, dean of faculty, coach, and teacher, my philosophy has always been to never ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.”  

    Mr. Cleary has made a particularly noteworthy impact on the athletic department, especially during his time as the varsity baseball coach. During his time as a coach, the team had an astounding record of 364-109. Under his leadership the team even captured undefeated seasons in 1992, 2000, and 2005. In recognition of these accomplishments, a division of the New England Prep Baseball League was named the Cleary Conference in 2006. Amidst these exciting achievements, Mr. Cleary made a clear effort to remain close to what mattered most. He references 2002 as his favorite year coaching the varsity baseball team because it was the only time his sons, Tim ’02 and Ryan ’05 played together on the same team.

    In recognition of the lasting impact Mr. Cleary has made on the Suffield Academy community, the development office has established a campaign titled “A League of His Own.” Through this campaign, donations can be made towards the renovation of the varsity baseball field to add new dugouts, and the field, itself, will be dedicated in honor of Mr. Cleary. Many of the athletes that he coached in the 1980s and 1990s will gather on campus in the Fall of 2018 for a dedication ceremony. Adam Pistel ’08 noted that the donations made already have “far exceeded” the original fundraising goal.

    The success of the campaign so far is certainly a testimony to the commitment Mr. Cleary has shown to the students he has mentored during his time at Suffield Academy. He leaves the school with hope for its promising future noting, “At Suffield, you can explore a variety of opportunities and hopefully be part of something much larger than yourself. Suffield is in a great place in the world of boarding school. I hope that we will always take a range of students with a strong set of moral and ethical values and that we remain a place where people hold the door for you, look you in the eye, and maintain the many traditions that are SA.”


4 out of 414

Article: Nicole Lee ’19 | Photos: 
Julie Raporte ’20 / Matteo Calderan ’18 / Elaine Wang ’19 / Ari Shah ’20

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  • Many things make Suffield community special. One of the unique characteristics is the diversity of our community. Currently, there are 71 students that represent 28 countries beyond the United States. Numbers of domestic students, along with international students, contribute largely to our diverse community. This edition of 4 out of 414 introduces four students with diverse backgrounds or unique nationalities that contribute to making Suffield an even more special place. 
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    Julie Raporte ’20
    Julie was born in Taipei, Taiwan, where her parents and her older brother had moved to a year prior to her birth from Warsaw, Poland. Julie and her family stayed in Taiwan for only about a year. Although Julie does not recall much memory about Taiwan, she would love to go back and visit one day. After Julie’s birth, her family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She said, “I quickly picked up Spanish and made lots of friends. Argentina is where I have some of my best childhood memories.” Julie had to leave her friends and memories behind when her family moved back to the United States. She asserted that the sudden moves were tough to adjust to for her and her brother as young children; however, she added, “growing up in a diverse background has shaped me into the person I am today. I was given an advantage many people do not have. I love the fact that I had the chance to grow up all around the world. It was something I wish everyone could experience. It showed me at a young age about other countries and to never discriminate or assume. I realized that my home and my house are two completely different things”. 

    Mattteo Calderan ’18 Although Matteo was born and raised in Connecticut his entire life, he possesses a very strong sense of Italian identity. Matteo’s parents moved here from the Italian island of Sardinia and the Italian Alps near Milan about 20 years ago. Matteo added, “they arrived in the United States, having almost nothing to their name, and settled in the very eventful, popular, and awesome town of Enfield, CT.” His parents moved into a small condo in Suffield when Matteo was born (around Halloween of 2000, according to himself). This is where Matteo spent his first three years, only speaking Italian in his house as his parents were still learning English themselves. He added, “at age 3, I moved into the house I still reside in to this day. Keep in mind, the whole time I've been growing up with Italian culture being engraved in my culture, thoughts, and actions. My house was a mini-Italian-embassy-of-sorts, as we had other Italian immigrants like my family over all the time, creating a little bubble of Italian culture almost every weekend, still to this day!” This interaction gave him an opportunity to learn the Italian language and culture. He also frequently flies over to Italy to a stay for a month. It has become his second home because all of his extended family members reside there. Matteo shared, “’Matteo, we get it, you're Italian, but what does this have to do with anything?’ you might be saying; luckily for you, now is the time to connect all this to me and who I am as a person. Growing up in a town where plenty of people claimed they were ‘Italian,’ it was hard to show my individuality. There were plenty of kids who ate fresh pasta and homemade lasagna and played soccer (and were better than me), so I never had the true chance to really show my Italian identity. However, coming to the Academy changed everything. When I came to Suffield, I was one of the very few Italians, if not the only one. I truly felt unique and was quick to assert my background at the school. My classmates were quick to realize my different background, as I became the ‘resident Italian’ in my classes, walked around with my Italy pin, spoke my language, and flexed my Italian knowledge on food and other important topics.” He also mentioned his extensive use of hand gestures when speaking as he discussed in his chapel speech: he described, “this is one of the grand selections of the subconscious Italian things that I do on a daily basis.” Along with all the positive perspectives of having a strong unique nationality, Matteo also had to encounter some negative impacts, like being called unkind things that related to his identity. However, he said, “I take all these negativities and spin them in a lighthearted way in the form of comedic jokes, using them to bolster myself and my previously shattered self-esteem.” He finally added, “as a resident Italian, it is my duty to answer any questions you have about my country.

    Elaine Wang ’19 Elaine was born in Los Angeles California. Throughout her life, her family has moved countless times. Shanghai was her home for much of the first seven years of her childhood. During that seven years, Elaine had also lived in China and Korea, which allowed her to be exposed to cultures that were similar yet different. When she was eight years old, she moved back to California. She said, “it was difficult for me to make friends, for I did not have any experience in making friends nor spoke a word of English.” Elaine now calls herself a social butterfly and said that she indeed has faced few difficulties in having a diverse background. Previously, due to frequent changes of environment, she had trouble interacting and connecting with her peers over such a short period of time. She said, “I was constantly shy when I was around a large group of people. Hiding behind my parents was a long habit of mine. It took a while to show my face when introduced to new people. I was always known as the quiet one in my class.” However, she realized that being known as the “shy” girl was something that she did not aspire to after moving to Connecticut. Through meeting wonderful people who will be her lifelong friends, she learned to manage her school and her relationships with others. Elaine added, “I personally feel like having a diverse background makes me unique, because everyone is special in their own way.”

    Ari Shah ’20 Ari was born in Michigan with Indian heritage; however, she was raised in Jamaica. Until Suffield, she had been going to an international school her whole life. According to her, this experience gave her an opportunity to be surrounded by diverse communities. She believes that she has a unique experience of being exposed to different environments and a better understanding and connection with others from different cultures. However, she said, “it can be difficult when I am the only person of my race in a room, or when I don’t know which country to represent.” She thinks that although her unique experience of being exposed to various environments gave her a better understanding and connection with others from different cultures, it does not make her special since everyone is different.


The Bell Staff Book Recommendations

The Bell Staff  | Photo: Devina Bhalla ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Below are some amazing book recommendations gifted from The Bell staff to you! It’s a very diverse list that includes everything from classics to more modern fiction to an illustrated memoir. Happy Reading! 
    » read more

    It’s Kind of a Funny Story 
    by Ned Vizzini
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
    Collected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (with an introduction by David Greenstein)
    The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
    Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
    The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime by Mark Haddon 
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman  
    Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

    Spotlight Recommendation by Emma Winiarski ’19
    The best book I read this spring was Quiet by Susan Cain. Praised for being a New York Times Bestseller, Cain’s work reflects mainly on introversion versus extroversion and the psychological as well as cultural components that create the Extrovert Ideal. Within the first few chapters, Cain begins by opening with the difficultly for introverts to present themselves as leaders in having a preference for listening rather than speaking, unlike extroverts who do the opposite and are often seen as more insightful to the larger group.

    This in turn generates more respect for a person’s verbal ability rather than for merit based on the criteria of what is being said. Making a connection between extroversion and leadership is often based on one’s perception of what a leader is and how much our culture impacts the way a person presents themselves. Using this logic, Cain inquired whether the Extrovert Ideal was largely based on the characteristic of one’s culture. She uses her personal experiences as an example, noting that in the U.S., college students generally have to be vocal to be a leader, whereas in other countries introverts are often praised since this trait is not seen as shy and solitary, but studious and individualistic.

    Cain breaks up her division of introvert versus extrovert into more refined subgroupings based on genetic temperament. Cain relates inborn temperament to how one is influenced by their environment to free will and, ultimately, to where one stands on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. On this spectrum, Cain reveals what it means to be a pretend extrovert and how it is most times easier for an introvert to conform to the demeanor of an extrovert because expressing oneself outward is what has been the social norm of the twentieth century and continues to be today. I enjoyed reading this book because it provided insight to the distinguishable qualities in an introvert to a shy person, and to a pretend extrovert, groupings which I had always considered as the same. It also gave extensive personal experiences, historical and biblical references, and research to back up many of the claims Cain made, leading to the question, “why are people the way they are?” Though it was not the most entertaining read, it was by far the most interesting and changed my perspective to how I see my friends, family, and myself.

College Visits: Two Perspectives


Audrey Arthur ’19
From worrying about getting those test scores a few hundred points higher to wondering how any of my past math or science teachers could honestly recommend me to a college, and every little trifle in between, starting the college process has definitely not been a highlight of my junior year. But if I had to look for a silver lining it would definitely be visiting colleges. At first, I loathed the thought about going on the same repetitive tours and information sessions, but after visiting a couple of colleges over break, I have come to really appreciate how helpful these visits can be. One thing about college tours is that they can alleviate anxiety about getting into the college a bit. When I first walk onto a college campus, I think to myself, “In less than two years, you will be starting your first day of college on a campus like this.” Even though I know I have not actually gotten into college yet, the tours still remind me that I will eventually reach that point.  Additionally, the tours help me understand what my preferences are. I used to hate being asked what I was looking for in a college because I did not know how to answer that question. Although I am still not completely sure how to answer, at least I do know what locations I prefer to be in or what size schools I like. Of course, there were a few downsides to my college visits. At Brown, I left in the middle of the tour because I realized they were giving the same exact tour that my sister got when I visited with her two years ago. At one point during my Columbia tour I leaned over to my mother and whispered, “Our tour guide is definitely hung over right now.” But even with those minor flaws, I still enjoyed my campus visits. Hopefully, in two years, I will be on a college campus reminiscing about the day I first visited. Photo: Audrey Arthur ’19

Mia D’Angelo ’19
The college search can be stressful in many ways, especially if you are, like I am, the eldest child. Different parts of the search can be challenging for different types of people. For instance, I cannot look at a website and get a feel for what the school looks like, I have to go and take a look for myself. That being said, once on my tour, that is when my stress increases. Some people feel stressed at Suffield where the college process is made into a class; whereas, I get stressed out from all of the information and new buildings being thrown at me during the tours and information sessions. I have never been good at making decisions. Whether it is choosing what I want for dinner, or choosing my future, I struggle to make up my mind. I have been narrowing down my choices and have noticed a couple of parallels among the schools I like.  I have chosen all smaller Jesuit private colleges located in big cities. The hard part, for me, is each one of the schools have something unique that I love. That being said, it has been less stressful for me when I am at school because there are no serious decisions being made on whether or not I like the school. I find it hard to really imagine myself being a student when I am in a huge tour of parents speaking on behalf of their kids. I am sure once the time comes I will be able to make a decision, but I would rather feel less overwhelmed by big crowds and tour guides shouting to groups while no one speaks. I think the college process should be a stress free thing who someone is excited, not anxious, about going through it.  Photo: Audrey Arthur ’19


Why the Hype over "Black Panther" is Real

Article: Ari Shah  ’20 | Photo: Flickr

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Transgender Allyship

Collaboratively Written by the Multicultural Voices English Elective

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How March For Our Lives Is Making History

Article: Caleigh Horrigan ’18 | Photos: Detroit Free Press

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  • The heartbreaking loss of life that took place at Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018 has brought the nation to a critical turning point in its response to gun violence. Protests and marches are being held across the country, with an overwhelming number of young people voicing their opinions and begging for changes that will prevent shootings like these in the future. 
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    The movement has been named “March For Our Lives” and has become one of the largest marches in history with millions involved nationwide and over $4 million dollars already raised. The power of protest is evident as even now, weeks after the tragic event, it still dominates the media and has sparked a worldwide discussion over gun control and the safety of our schools.

    One of the most upsetting facts about fatal shootings such as the one in Parkland, FL is how quickly people forget. Sutherland Springs, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas: how long did it take for these shootings to disappear from the headlines of major news corporations? How long did it take for our nation to put these tragedies behind us? March For Our Lives is a reminder that without change we cannot move forward, and the fight against gun violence is still a relevant concern. Five out of the ten deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history occurred within the last five years, and the rate at which public mass shootings occur has tripled since 2011. These are startling facts that need to be recognized and addressed properly before our country can truly get past them.

    Change does not happen overnight. It takes persistence and dedication to make an impact on the world and March For Our Lives marks the beginning of a journey towards preventing gun violence across the nation. While opinions about how to do so differ, nothing is accomplished through silence. It is discussion that brings us closer to a solution to these tragic losses. So talk about what happened at Stoneman Douglas High School; talk about gun control and school security; share your opinion and listen to others. You will find that this is how progress is made. The worst thing we can do is forget; we as a nation owe it to the seventeen victims and their loved ones to remember this tragedy and do everything in our power to prevent any more loss of life at the hands of gun violence.

The Arts

The Poet Corner

I Thought I Knew Love
by Jessica Malley ’19

i thought i knew love
but then he wandered through the door
and my eyes chased him
soon a strong feeling in my heart began to evolve
i felt it spread throughout my whole body
as for my mind
the thought of him embraced me
gave me security
my soul was drawn to him
a sense of inner connection
knowing he was my one and only
he gave me ample hope for this world
this is not what i envisioned love to be like
once my heart was an incomplete puzzle
now i have found my missing piece
love was no longer a feeling
but an unforgettable experience
and this unforgotten experience was purely rare
it was the collaboration of two hearts
completely in sync
forever and always
The Visionary
by Emma Winiarski
Lost in the world of limitless possibilities. 
Time is irrelevant to your successive imagination. 
While impossibilities arouse, 
The absurdity of each one crafted by the visionary itself. 
You are the architect of your thoughts. 
The designer. 
The founder. 
The author. 
The producer.
The inventor of all entireties in such an inconceivable world. 
The one who thrives in all creativity and originality. 
The one who sculpts each and every characteristic it beholds. 
Even the most peripheral trivialities are yours to mold. 
It is yours. 
Not anyone, or anything can shatter the light that you possess. 
It is yours. 
Not now, not ever, or at any point in time. 
Time is irrelevant. 
So is anyone or anything that tries to impede you. 
They are the vanilla ice cream in a dish, 
while you are the entire chocolate-peanut butter ensemble in a sprinkle covered waffle cone. 
Completely lusterless when compared to your blinding rays of golden sun. 
They are irrelevant. 
You are a visionary. 


"Curious Incident" Production Process

Article: Juhi Rayonia ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • In less than two months, the Suffield community will be able to see a unique story come to life about a boy with autism finding his way through the world. Yet as of right now, there is still a lot of work to be done. A big part of the production is creating the set and organizing the stage crew so that the show runs smoothly. With this show in particular, there are many movements involving set pieces in almost every scene, and the lighting and sound effects are a crucial part of creating the vision of this story as every cue and placement needs to be perfect. 
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    Director Mr. Dugan and set managers Mr. Caginalp and Mr. Butcher P’06, ’04 along with the spring stage crew have been working hard to make this performance spectacular, and this year they have been facing some challenges due to the intricate design that needs to be executed. Mr. Dugan explains his vision for the show and how it differs from the Broadway version, “The set design is based off of the Broadway design so there are many similarities, however, we did make some modifications for our theater. We are using 16 foot walls. We are creating the world of Christopher's classroom with the bottom 4 foot. This is his reality—where his story takes place. Above that, is Christopher's mind. It is how he sees the world, in a grid with bright lights and math. This is different from the Broadway production.”

    In order to carry out these parameters and tasks, the crew has had to work around the challenges and restrictions they are faced with. The Suffield stage has been known to be smaller than most, which has proved especially challenging for this production. Mr. Dugan elaborates on the issue, “Our stage is on the small side, but we design the piece knowing our limitations. We are raising some of the teasers curtains in order to maximize the vertical space. This helps give the feeling of a much taller proscenium”.

    On the technological side of the show, Mr. Caginalp has been working since January to create the specific lighting design needed for this production and he explained how this is the most tech he has ever done for a show in his Suffield career. “The Curiousset is much more of a mixed media project than we have done in the past. The walls are spaces for projection, as well as having lights embedded in them. The space is active and working all the time to convey the chaos of the main character's mind, while also being very simple in form. It is a very strange juxtaposition, but I am excited to see it come together.” Within the process, the grid lighting alone contains about 512 channels and lights, and there are many LEDs with special coloring such as red, green, and blue. “While it is still early in production, I think that embedding all the LED lights in the wall will prove to be most challenging. There are 500 light emitting diodes placed in a 1 foot x 1 foot array. Wiring all of those diodes and getting them to run well for the shows will be the most difficult I believe.” Even with these obstacles, Mr. C is excited to see how everything comes together, “Honestly, I'm excited for the whole show. I think that any one piece is going to be strange by itself, but together the show will be great. I am excited to see all the technical aspects come together and showcase what our stage crew can do. This is absolutely the most difficult technical show that we have ever done.”

    This production has been breaking records left and right, and it will be exciting to see how each aspect of the show, such as lighting, set pieces, sound effects, and costumes, melds with one another to create an engaging and fluent performance. As a cast member, watching the world of Christopher’s mind come to life around me is such a fascinating process to observe and seeing everything that goes on backstage really makes me appreciate all the hard work, organization, and dedication that goes into making such a complicated and groundbreaking creation like The Curious Incident. Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes as opening night approaches!


True March Madness

Article: Katherine Schmitz ’19

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Every time the sacred March Madness comes around, many scramble to make brackets, betting on which team will take home the National Championship. This year was no different, but with a surprising twist of events. 
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    A No. 16 seed, UMBC beat a No 1 seed, Virginia. 
    The top four seeds of a region were gone the first week. 
    A regional championship game happened between No. 9 and 11 seeds. 
    These three things have never happened before. Keeping this in mind, one can only imagine how everyone’s once perceived “perfect bracket” became imperfect. 
    Moving on from many disappointed fans as the greatest upset in NCAA history took place this year and many more upsets came to be, one of the highlights of the tournament, this year, was Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the 98 year old chaplain for the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers. She has been well-loved by Loyola fans for years, but gained the nation's attention during the team's success this season. She led players in prayer from her wheel chair before each game, while bobble heads and t-shirts with her face plastered on them were selling out online. 
    The final four was filled with teams that were expected to make it that far, but also some surprises. Number 1 seeds Kansas and Villanova faced off, while the other game was played by a number 11 seed Loyola Chicago and a number 3 seed Michigan. When it was all said and done, Loyola Chicago and Kansas were knocked out and their run for the NCAA National Championship was over. For Kansas fans there was much disappointment, but for Loyola Chicago it was bitter sweet. Sure, fans were disappointed with the 57-69 loss against Michigan, but no one, even Sister Jean, thought they would make it that far. Sister Jean even admitted that she had predicted Loyola Chicago losing to Tennessee in the second round. 
    Villanova took home all the glory against Michigan in the championship game, 79-62. Donte DiVincenzo, a Villanova player, took home the Most Outstanding Player award. Villanova University even canceled class the following Thursday so students could attend the basketball team’s parade in Philadelphia. There was no shortage of excitement there, as it was Villanova’s second National Championship title in three years. 
    All in all, this year’s NCAA tournament was exciting, with many big upsets and Sister Jean stealing the stage, but in the end, the number 1 seeded Villanova took home all the glory. 


Tigers Take on Dodgertown Spring Training

Article & Photos: Isabella Attianese ’18

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Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411