The 2022-2023 senior speaker series continued on October 31. It featured eight members of the Class of 2023: Johnny Beam, Ben Bryan, Walton Burdick, Alex Cremins, Will Hick, Aiden Longley, Tony Luo, and Declan Hehir.
Johnny Beam, a four-year senior from West Hartford, Connecticut, spoke about how a trip in the U.K. this summer caused him to reevaluate his ways of thinking. He advised, “I urge you to strike up a conversation with the people around you, not only your teachers but also our bus drivers, kitchen staff, maintenance crew, and health center nurses, because the people you are surrounded by may positively enhance your life and how you view the world.”
Ben Bryan, a four-year senior from Darien, Connecticut, chose a nontraditional way to present his speech, saying, “Many people take this time to tell a sentimental story, but given that it is Halloween I felt required to tell you all a spooky story. It all started right here at Suffield Academy: it was a dark morning, the clouds hung over the campus as though they were sheltering us from the sun...”
Walton Burdick, a four-year senior from Yorktown Heights, New York, spoke about a seemingly mundane tradition that he has with his roommates that taught him a larger lesson. He said, “Doing something that sounds so boring, like watching a digital clock, can be made enjoyable when you surround yourself with the right people. Take advantage of the time you have here and try to make the most of every moment no matter what you’re doing.”
Alex Cremins, a four-year senior from Suffield, Connecticut, spoke about his grandfather’s life, and how his choices got their family to where they are today. He said, “I’m always astounded by the richness of his life, his dedication, and the heart he puts into everything he does. Whether it be emigrating to live a better life or starting a restaurant from the ground up, he never passed up an opportunity.”
Will Hick, a three-year senior from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, shared some “scary stories” in honor of Halloween, including what happened when he first began at Suffield. He said, “There was one embarrassing thing that I needed help with for the first week or so; I couldn’t differentiate between Centurion, Holcomb, and Memorial. This may shock many of you but coming from a small high school in Western Massachusetts, these three buildings were harder to remember than you might think.”
Aiden Longley, a four-year senior from Westfield, Massachusetts, spoke about taking advantage of everything that Suffield has to offer. He said, “Suffield gives you the tools and the vision to be successful, but in the end it’s all up to you to decide what you want to do with this power. We have teachers that are willing to stay after hours and offer help. We have facilities that are open after classes conclude to practice sports or to play instruments. We’ve all been given an incredible opportunity to attend an institution like this and it’s an opportunity that we should cherish and not just throw away.”
Tony Luo, a four-year senior from Beijing, China, talked about what he learned about making friends during his time at Suffield. At first, he attempted to make as many friends as possible his freshman year, but he admitted, “I ignored something really important about friendship. It’s not about quantity; instead, it’s about quality. It’s not about how many friends you have, it’s about how many truly good friends you have.”
Declan Hehir, a three-year senior from Nantucket, Massachusetts, spoke about his love of his hometown. He said, “If you’ve ever thought about visiting Nantucket, I can tell you firsthand that you wouldn’t be disappointed with the beauty and sense of adventure that the little island has to offer, regardless of the season.”
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.