The 2022-2023 senior speaker series continued on December 12. It featured eight members of the Class of 2023: Katie Akers, Owen Arnold, Peter Cieszko, Henry Levin, Jayson Mack, Sara Broad, Emily Magiera, and Nene Uchiumi.
Katie Akers, a four-year senior from Weston, Connecticut, talked about the role her grandparents have played in her life. She said, for example, that her Granny “has taught me the importance of a first impression and how sometimes actions can speak louder than words,” and how her dad “constantly tells me how much I remind him of my grandfather and that I would be making him proud. Hearing this is my motivation every day to be kind, compassionate, selfless, and driven—just like my Pops was.”
Owen Arnold, a four-year senior from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, spoke about the variety of people he has lived with at Suffield, saying, “Throughout my four years at Suffield I’ve had a very interesting group of roommates. With that came a lot of good times and funny memories. I have also learned a lot from them.”
Peter Cieszko, a four-year senior from New Canaan, Connecticut, spoke about being the youngest of seven children. He said, “Growing up with this many people was hectic, but the most important thing it taught me was to live life with a positive outlook and to take it one step at a time. When you get older you see those who mean the most to you less and less, and my advice to you is to cherish those moments. Luckily throughout the years my family has remained close and really good friends.”
Henry Levin, a four-year senior from Westport, Connecticut, reflected on growing up and watching his interests shift. He said, “I now understand that as time passes, passions evolve and change. There is no such thing as wasted time because there is always an opportunity to gain or grasp new knowledge... With this new understanding I no longer experience maturing as a hardship, just an opportunity to emerge in pursuit of my goals.”
Jayson Mack, a four-year senior from Baldwin, New York, spoke about how his passion for academics led him to becoming a summer tutor. He said, “I was able to help kids enhance their academic abilities but was also able to promote academic excellence to young kids who look like me and may often, due to societal beliefs, undervalue academics. Being able to connect with the kids through sports, music, and TikTok trends after reviewing math concepts for an hour was wonderful. I felt as if I was helping shift the outlook on academics within the community, which is a big-picture goal of mine.”
Sara Broad, a two-year senior from Miami, Florida, shared what her journey to Suffield looked like and how grateful she is for the experience. She said, “Without Suffield, I would have never known that it was possible to be happy and be in school at the same time. I have never been lucky enough to be a part of such a loving, caring, and helpful community where I feel taken care of and accounted for. I never knew teachers genuinely wanted to help you succeed and do well in their classes.”
Emily Magiera, a two-year senior from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, spoke about her relationship with her twin brother. She said, “Whenever I’m confused about anything, he’s right there to straighten it up, even when he doesn’t want to. He also discovered the secret on how to always cheer me up. He found that the best way to put me in a better mood was to get me a Wendy’s frosty at 12:00 at night or take me to get my own pint of ice cream from the gas station down the road. Both of these options always helped with whatever was going on.”
Nene Uchiumi, a three-year senior from Tokyo, Japan, shared what it’s like to leave home for Suffield. She admitted, “After I finish packing, I always have my last dinner before traveling with all of my family members where I can sit and enjoy the time before I leave home, because I know that I will not be able to see them for next three months. Although I always tell my parents that I’m not sad about leaving, after saying good night to them and laying down on my bed, my tears come out knowing the fact that I’m leaving tomorrow.”
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.