The 2023-2024 senior speaker series continued on November 6. It featured eight members of the Class of 2024: Miles Clay, Jay Ryu, Brenden Toppin, Mackenzie Headley, Victoria Knibbs, Eric Ding, Leelee Sammis, and Navraj Toor.
Miles Clay, a two-year senior from Sharon, Massachusetts, talked about his strong relationship with his family. He said, “Something that I clearly think is important is spending time with loved ones. You don’t really know what you have until you lose it. That’s why I always cherish the time I spend with my family, no matter what we’re doing.”
Jay Ryu, a four-year senior from Seoul, South Korea, talked about three things that have made Suffield special to him: meeting diverse people; learning Chinese; and playing tennis. He said, “The memories I made here are priceless, and these memories helped me figure out who I was as a person and what I truly enjoy in life.”
Brenden Toppin, a four-year senior from Glastonbury, Connecticut, reflected on older brothers and sibling relationships. He said, “My journey to being an older brother, though hard at times, is great. I wouldn’t trade it for anything... A note for all the older siblings: appreciate the acts of annoyance that your younger siblings show you, because one day, the relationship you build with them will be one of the most cherished bonds in your life.”
Mackenzie Headley, a four-year senior from Windsor, Connecticut, spoke about learning how to push outside her comfort zone, saying, “One of the main pillars of Suffield Academy is its emphasis on distance traveled: how much a student grows during their time here. With that being said I want to thank myself. I am proud of the ways I have grown and pushed myself while at Suffield.”
Victoria Knibbs, a three-year senior from Kingston, Jamaica, shared her experiences with health struggles and how it impacted her relationships. She said, “When I couldn’t walk, my mother carried me, and when I had to relearn to walk, she stood right behind me. I learned a mother’s love knows no bounds, and don’t worry, I didn’t forget you, Dad. I had a blast earning my spot as your favorite child.”
Eric Ding, a four-year senior from Shanghai, China, worried that high school was going to be long and difficult—but instead it was fleeting as classmate Alex Chen ’22 forewarned. Eric said, “What Alex said is 100% correct. Time passed just so quickly... My mom told me that time can be much faster if you are enjoying it rather than struggling with it.”
Leelee Sammis, a three-year senior from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, spoke about her relationships with the women in her family, most especially her mother and her three sisters. She said, “I know that no matter what happens throughout my life, my sisters will be there to protect me, and I will always do the same for them.”
Navraj Toor, a four-year senior from South Windsor, Connecticut, talked about learning to embrace new experiences after a recent outing with his friends. He said, “Unexpected events shape our character, offering us the chance to grow, adapt, and discover new facets of ourselves. It’s in these unscripted moments that we can find resilience, creativity, and the power to transform fear into laughter.”
The senior speaker series is a valuable Suffield Academy tradition and capstone part of the Leadership Program. It is a weekly highlight in our community.