The 2022-2023 senior speaker series continued on October 24. It featured nine members of the Class of 2023: Lauren Egan, Luella Uchitel, Charlie Zimmerman, Julia Bao, Hugo Hardwick, Stacy Yurkovskaya, Brighie Hogan, Harold Xu, and Morgan Geisinger.
Lauren Egan, a four-year senior from Scituate, Rhode Island, spoke about the people she cares for and the meaning of family. She said that her parents and her grandmother “always stressed with my brother and I the importance of love and being there for the people you love. Because of them I know how lucky I am every day. Their love and support has helped me through so much, big and small.”
Luella Uchitel, a two-year senior from Los Angeles, California, spoke about the many schools she has attended in her educational career. She said, “I have lived on two different coasts, in six different houses, and Suffield is the eighth school I’ve attended. These many changes and varied environments from location to education have not only formed who I am but have ultimately led me to Suffield...a school that combines all the aspects I sought through the trials of my journey to date.”
Charlie Zimmerman, a three-year senior from Atlanta, Georgia, talked about her bucket list, and what she has accomplished versus what she wants to do next. She advised, “I hope all of you do something that scares you this year or steps you out of your comfort zone into a new place. There is so much out there to discover, and I hope you all check at least one thing off your bucket list while you’re here at Suffield.”
Julia Bao, a three-year senior from Shanghai, China, shared that art helped her through a difficult time in her life. She said, “Sometimes, emotions are hard to express in words, and I was not used to sharing my feelings, so I hid them. I used laughter as a way of self-defense, which in turn resulted in more negative emotions such as anxiety and frustration... Art and visual symbols are the communication link between the unconscious and conscious awareness. Art helped me express experiences that words alone cannot.”
Hugo Hardwick, a four-year senior from “all over,” spoke about his experience growing up in Australia. He started by squashing stereotypes, saying, “Kids do not ride an emu or kangaroo to school every day instead of taking the school bus and no, I have never gotten into a boxing fight with a kangaroo... Secondly, we do not say ‘put a shrimp on the barbie.’ Lastly, everything in Australia does not want to kill you constantly; just stick to the cities and you’ll be safe. Just kidding (not really).”
Stacy Yurkovskaya, a four-year senior from Minsk, Belarus, talked about the transition from childhood to being an adult and not forgetting the playful side of yourself. She said, “I like climbing trees. But it can be anything that sparks that youthful joy we so often forget about. Playing with toys, watching kids’ TV shows, going on a merry-go-round, going to the playground and just riding a swing. Do all the silly things that make you happy. You did not outgrow them, they do not make you childish.”
Brighie Hogan, a four-year senior from San Francisco, California, spoke about how she’s never had a complete year of high school. Part of this is due to time she spent in a mental health and eating disorder treatment hospital, where she grew so much. Perhaps most importantly, she said, “I deserve love, I deserve to be happy, I deserve to have a choice, to say no, I deserve kindness and compassion, and for the first time I’m believing those words.”
Harold Xu, a four-year senior from Shanghai, China, talked about what to avoid in your high school years. He mentioned procrastination and waking up late, and concluded by saying, “Giving up on anything is the most despised and unpopular behavior. Life is difficult. Give it your all for the remaining years at this amazing school. This is the most essential. Work hard and play hard...always push through any difficult task in your way.”
Morgan Geisinger, a four-year senior from Vernon, Connecticut, aimed her speech at her fellow seniors. She talked about the difficulty—but necessity—of moving on, saying, “New beginnings may look nothing like our lives today; new surprises could be hiding behind every corner. Yet wherever the path may lead, I'm sure we will all be prepared, supported, and excited for our futures.”
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.