Senior Speakers – November 13

The senior speaker series continued on November 13 and featured seven members of the Class of 2021: Aiden Attianese, Stephen Greco, Nick Maggi, Sophie Pirondini, Sam Shlafstein, Rebecca Moglin, and Sarah Phillips.

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.

Aiden Attianese is a musician and songwriter from East Granby, Connecticut who shared why music holds a special place in his heart: “The process of writing a song for me is a cathartic one, and an adventure. At the beginning you don’t really know where you’re going, but when you find it along the way and the beauty in the process is irreplicable.”

In 2005 and at just two years old, Stephen Greco (West Hartford, Connecticut) underwent emergency brain surgery. He spoke about resilience, family, and the stories that shaped him. He noted, “The way people around me came together makes me look at life through a different lens. And how I did everything in my power to recover shows me there is nothing I can’t get through.”

“A horror movie at its best is a movie first and horror second,” said Nick Maggi (Longmeadow, Massachusetts) on Friday the 13th. From famed characters to storyline, he discussed the evolution of this genre. “The drastic contrast in violence comes from horror moving towards a different side of creativity, and the best ones aren’t the scariest but the ones which are the most entertaining.”

An artist from Weston, Massachusetts, Sophie Pirondini has a love for product design. “Through design I have the freedom to create art that reaches everyone,” she said. “It allows for creativity to be an outlet of a clearly communicated message that is visually pleasing and solves a problem at the same time. Design is the perfect mix of art and real-world application.”

Speaking on the unique displacement of human language, Sam Shlafstein from Somers, Connecticut asked, “How do we assign meaning to the message?” Maintaining it is impossible to communicate our subjective experiences he noted, “Languages have a finite number of words with potential of generating an infinite number of combinations. We therefore learn the meaning of words through the way other members of our linguistic community use them.”

From Southwick Massachusetts and a hopeful engineering major, Rebecca Moglin has always been fascinated by how things work. She shared with the community a hobby she loves. “Helping my dad restore cars [1985 SVO and 1989 Mustang convertible] satisfied that curiosity and made us closer,” she explained. “Every minute spent in the garage—even if just holding a flashlight when I was younger—grew my passion for hands-on work and guided my future as an engineer.”

Every June and for the past 10 years Sarah Phillips (Malvern, Pennsylvania) has spent seven weeks at a camp in Maine. She says the experience made her a better person: “There I learned how to swim, steer a canoe, and cook meals over an open fire, but more importantly I learned empathy, teamwork, and honesty. I learned that being a kid and learning how to do things is just as important as succeeding and winning.”

The senior speaker series will resume after Thanksgiving break. You may view all chapel talks here.