The senior speaker series continued on November 6 and featured seven members of the Class of 2021: Nicole Boutry, Erin Jachym, Salli Lubbe, Joe Rusnock, Sarah Kurbanov, Brigid Lawry, and Megan Swanson.
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.
Nicole Boutry is a three-year senior from Greenwich, Connecticut, who wanted to remind the community that blood is thicker than water. “I knew the day I visited Suffield that this was the right place for me,” she said. “When I walk around campus I truly feel at home. I love Suffield so much and am happy to be here, but the time spent with my family is honestly unforgettable.”
Erin Jachym is an accomplished swimmer from Westfield, Massachusetts, who has big goals for her upcoming season. “I am one second off an Olympic trial cut in my best distance event—the 400 freestyle,” she noted. “I know I can get it this season, and I would never regret my decision to sticking with this sport or swimming at Suffield. Swimming is my everything.”
Salli Lubbe grew up in a small ski town in Vermont. As a “Vermonter” she learned to challenge the slopes confidently, hike the Green Mountains, make maple syrup, and enjoy the outdoors. She spoke on the topic of identity: “Because I lived in Germany, I find comfort within myself and appreciate differences in others. Because I live in Vermont, I call myself a Vermonter despite my differences. Because I was born in a mountainous village in China, I know there is still a lot more about myself to discover.”
From Suffield, Connecticut, Joe Rusnock took the opportunity to thank his family, teachers, and coaches for making his time at Suffield so special: “First, I would like to thank my family and especially my parents for making my time here possible and for your support these four years. I’d like to also thank my teachers and friends and all the staff that make Suffield such a great place to be.”
From Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Sarah Kurbanov is an admittedly anxious person. “I am very familiar with the difficulty of admitting when I am out of my depth but asking for help does not make you weak or inadequate,” she explained. “Trying to do everything yourself is foolish. That is one of the many things I learned during my time at Suffield.”
From Westfield, Massachusetts, Brigid Lawry shared a letter she recently wrote to her freshman self. “Self-advocacy is not just for getting better grades; it is also for creating a better quality of life,” she read aloud. “There is satisfaction in giving back and providing guidance to others. Be kind, always. When I think of Suffield I think of a warm place, so let’s leave it better than the way we found it.”
Finally, Megan Swanson is a four-year senior from Tolland, Connecticut, who believes the places we spend our time shape us into the people we are meant to be. She spoke about her cherished time in Quechee, Vermont: “It is difficult to put such an influential place into words. For my family, Quechee has been a second home and an escape from the rush of our daily lives. It is part of who I am and who I am becoming.”
The senior speaker series will resume on November 13. You may view all chapel talks here.