The 2022-2023 senior speaker series continued on February 27. It featured seven members of the Class of 2023: Josh Boies, Joey Brook, Jason Hall, Ngoni Maodzwa, Dayyan O’ Neal, Kaitlyn Welsh, and Ryan Piela.
Josh Boies, a four-year senior from Somers, New York, touched on his strong relationship with his mother, and how he handled the loss of his father. He said, “For all of you who have lost someone close to you, regardless of whether they’re a friend, family, coach, teacher, whoever—death, while it can bring the worst pain, is educational. Now, I do not mean that in a way where you study it, or you read a book about it. Death is something that teaches you the value of raw emotion and appreciation.”
Joey Brook, a four-year senior from Northfield, Massachusetts, talked about his dining experiences at Suffield. He said, “I realized quickly that being an athlete also comes with being hungry all the time. When you exert all that energy, you need to put that energy back into your body. This is why food is so important to me, because I need my energy to succeed.”
Jason Hall, a two-year senior from Fall River, Massachusetts, spoke about the types of students he’s met at Suffield. He said, “Suffield has a lot of amazing and different people from all over the world and from different backgrounds, but every Suffield student has one thing in common. We are all gifted. Some are gifted in the classroom and some are gifted out of the classroom, being artists, musicians, football players, basketball players, and gymnasts.”
Ngoni Maodzwa, a four-year senior from Doha, Qatar, talked about how living on campus brought him great friends and experiences. He said, “By stepping out of my comfort zone I was able to meet some of the people that would define my Suffield experience. Dorm life is truly what I am going to miss about Suffield. If you haven’t lived in a dorm yourself, you’ve probably at least heard stories about living in one...dorm life has become the hallmark of my Suffield experience.”
Dayyan O’Neal, a postgraduate from Savannah, Georgia, spoke about how football shaped his Suffield career. He said, “Football brought a different energy to my life that I had not experienced in a while. It was something about playing on Friday night in front of thousands of people and finishing the game out with aches and pains just to do it all over again the next week. It was a new feeling that I could see myself getting used to. Football brought me places and opportunities I never knew existed.”
Kaitlyn Welsh, a postgraduate from Glastonbury, Connecticut, shared the connections she had to Suffield prior to her postgrad year. The first time she was on campus, she said, “During my sophomore year, my parents took me to a football game for my friends’ brother at Suffield. I noticed the students all cheering, laughing, and screaming at the fence next to the field...I was fascinated by the school’s facilities and the amount of school spirit.”
Ryan Piela, a four-year senior from Agawam, Massachusetts, talked about the two experiences that have meant the most to him at Suffield: playing water polo and being part of dish crew. In terms of dish crew, he said, “I have been doing it for four years and I have never looked back once. Being on dish crew and being an inspector has given me leadership experience and a work ethic that I would not have had otherwise. I will always be grateful for it.”
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.