The senior speaker series continued on February 12 and featured seven members of the Class of 2021: Tom Dowd, George Lucas, Grace Caso, Abby Hick, Emelia Keely, Emma Krasemann, and Bella Nutini.
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.
With no previous rock-climbing experience, Tom Dowd from West Hartford, Connecticut shared his story about a three-week backpacking and climbing expedition deep in the wilderness of Wyoming. “Taking the unfamiliar and uncomfortable road was a huge burden at first, but I realized that not every failure, mistake, or obstacle should mean I should stop trying,” he said. “Knowing what’s on the other side of failure helped me break from old habits and motivate more to endure demanding challenges. When you can be comfortable while being uncomfortable is when you’ll summit your mountain.”
From the Bronx, New York, George Lucas explained how a rewarding community service trip to Costa Rica influenced his decision to attend Suffield. “I longed to find myself again amongst this welcoming presence,” he described. “Suffield Academy would be the place that reminded me of that small but strong village in Costa Rica. Thank you, Suffield for embracing me and reminding me of that same feeling of one the best times in my life.”
Grace Caso is one of three sisters to attend Suffield from Ellington, Connecticut, and graciously noted, “Suffield, you gave my sisters and I a second place to call home and provided us with the greatest gift of all: the privilege of fulfilling our passions for sports and solidifying our unbreakable bond. You pushed me to limits I did not know I could even reach. You saw the potential I had and did not settle for anything less than my best work. Thank you for teaching me many lessons and for showing me that sisters can also be your best friends.”
“I walked into the Fabulous 50’s Diner looking for a summer job and walked out having solidified my passion for helping others,” announced Abby Hick from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. “I learned that listening to people is the best way to offer support and understand their perspective. This experience has reminded me to take the time to listen to people and remember that everyone has a story to share.”
Emelia Keely from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and Emma Krasemann from Suffield, Connecticut joined together in sharing a job at the local Roaring Acres Alpacas farm. “I not only learned about the significance and production of agricultural industries but also how to take care of the animals and crops which sustain my community,” said Emma. “Though the stories we shared today may seem unimportant, it was moments like these for which we are most thankful. Meeting someone we otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet, learning new skills, and taking on different roles and responsibilities have impacted us for the better.”
“Suffield Academy is a safe place to be yourself and where countless laughs are shared,” concluded Bella Nutini from Suffield, Connecticut. “It’s taught me to cherish each individual moment and appreciate my time more. I am so grateful for all the friends I made and memories we can look back on. What a wild and fun ride it’s been.”
The series will resume on February 19.