The senior speaker series continued on February 19 and featured seven members of the Class of 2021: Kechaun Bennett, Lachlan Berry, Jake DeSabato, Rene Nunez, Davis Warren, Sami D’Angelo, and Teddy Taylor.
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.
From Windsor, Connecticut, Kechaun Bennett gave a talk centered on personal growth and leadership. “Maturity doesn’t happen overnight and for some people, it takes their whole lives. The road to controlling my actions has not been easy but my teachers and coaches at Suffield and Head of School Cahn never gave up hope on me because they saw the potential in me to become a respectable man. Thank you for seeing the good in me and keeping me in the right direction.”
Born in Australia nearly two-feet long and weighing over eight pounds Lachlan Berry from Longmeadow, Massachusetts has longed to feel normal. “I’ve wished I could just be the 5’9” guy on the junior varsity team just having fun with his friends,” he explained. “I’ve longed to be free from the expectations of those around me, to run away from his potential, and curl up in a little ball. It took some time, but I have made peace with who I am and who I can be.”
“There are many things that Suffield taught me, but one of the best things is the value of service,” said Jake DeSabato from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “With so much darkness in this world, it is a nice change when people help each other. Joining a group of people with a common goal proves that great things can be accomplished when we work together for the good of others.”
From Secaucus, New Jersey, Rene Nunez talked about his father who he calls his hero, best friend, coach, and idol. “Over the course of 30 years after immigrating from the Dominican Republic, my father has managed a lot. He’s provided for his family, given me, absolutely everything I have in life taught me everything I know, and made me the person I am today. I aspire to be half the man my father is one day.”
From Manhattan Beach, California, Davis Warren read an inspired poem by Chief Tecumseh, the Shawnee warrior who united the Ohio River Valley Native American tribes against the westward expansion of white Americans. “Chief Tecumseh is telling us that at some point in our lives we must risk failure to face our fear of not being enough,” he reasoned. “So be valiant, be gracious, be great, and forever grateful for the opportunities you have.”
“I loved Suffield Academy even before I knew I was supposed to,” said legacy and three-year senior Sami D’Angelo from Longmeadow, Massachusetts. “Though we all walk the same path each day, the beauty of Suffield is that everyone paves a different route for themselves. Coming together from diverse backgrounds and goals, we spend a crucial time together between our past and our future, supporting each other as we grow in all different directions.”
Teddy Taylor is an avid and competitive sailor from Palm Beach, Florida whose favorite place is the Nantucket Sound. “Sailing has really become an integral part of my life—a sport and mindset that has shaped me to my core,” he explained. “As rigorous and demanding as sailing is, it has provided tremendous enjoyment for me while enabling me to develop certain life skills. I really feel like I am my best self when I am in a racing boat.”
The series will resume on February 26. You may view all chapel talks here.