The senior speaker series continued on December 11 and featured seven members of the Class of 2021: Zainah Abidi, Amy Wang, Dhirraj Suraj, Toby Gibbons, Gabby Reim, Kaitlin Sun, and Jim Hou.
The series launched with the Class of 2017 as an addition to the chapel program where all seniors delivered a speech, presentation, or performance to the Suffield Academy community. Head of School Charlie Cahn said he hoped the program would serve as a formative experience for the seniors, an opportunity to strengthen community, and a way to continue providing engaging chapel programming. These talks are supplemented by traditional chapel events including the Alumni Leadership Day program, Student Council Elections, and Kent-Davis Speaking Competition during Commencement week.
“Hi I am Zainah, and I am a two-year senior who I lives in Saudi. So, I thought I would show what that’s like,” said Zainah Abidi before sharing a video featuring the culture of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. From roadsides to mountainsides and desert terrains and local foods, architecture, art, unique vegetations, and brilliant sunsets, Zainah captured the beauty of the place she calls home.
“Just like a prism, we all have various identities and experiences that play a role in our existence,” said Amy Wang from Shanghai, China. “Suffield Academy prepared me with the skills to grow as a learner and improve as a person. Suffield helped me reach my full potential and become the best version of myself. It has indeed had a great influence on my life and where I created so many memories with my friends.”
From Singapore, Singapore, four-year senior Dhirraj Suraj discussed his appreciation for Suffield’s diverse culture of learning and his profound journey of self-realization: “I thank my teachers for engaging with me and allowing me to grow. I am thankful for the opportunity for attending this school because the person who I am was formed here. The freedom and diversity really helped me to understand topics I would have never had the opportunity to learn had I gone anywhere else, and again I am very thankful for that.”
From Devonshire, Bermuda Toby Gibbons is a soccer player and Division I scholarship recipient who praised his Suffield experience: “Looking back, I realize how lucky I am to have attended Suffield Academy and to have been blessed with all the opportunities and successes it provided me. I want to take this time to thank all my teachers and classmates for pushing me to do better and helping me in times when I needed it the most. Because of all you I can leave Suffield happy with what I’ve achieved but excited and ambitious for the future.”
“I am far from perfect; I am awkward, clumsy, and shy,” admitted two-year senior Gabby Reim from Montréal, Québec. “However, when I truly begin thinking about my life thus far and the person I’ve come to be, I realize my development is not because of any tangible achievement or obstacles I’ve overcome but rather the incredible support system I am lucky to have. Because of them I am slowly and surely becoming the person I am meant to be.”
At Suffield, students form memories and friendships that last a lifetime. Both from Beijing, China, Kaitlin Sun and Jim Hou shared a video which includes video clips and photos honoring their four years spent together as friends. At its end they concluded, “No matter where you are, we hope you all enjoy your fantastic journey at Suffield Academy and find someone to share the journey with.”
The senior speaker series will resume after winter break. You may view all chapel talks here.