Senior Speakers [October 25]

The 2021-2022 Senior Speaker series continued on October 25 and featured 8 members of the Class of 2022: Theo Bass, Thomas Bowers, Will Kainen, Nico Menendez-Featherston, Jack Morse, Connor Slade, Samantha Sollinger, and Avery Rappaport.

Theo Bass, a three-year senior from Long Island, New York, focused on the health issues and subsequent loss of his father two years ago, and how it impacted his life. He shared, “Some of my father’s last words to me were to carry on with life, to not let his death stop me, and to always take him with me. I wear a blue wristband that says ‘Great Expectations, Joel Bass, 2.5.19.’ It was from my father’s memorial, and that’s one way I always have him with me.”

Three-year senior from Nassau, Bahamas Thomas Bowers told the story of getting struck by a drunk driver while skateboarding home just seven months ago. Through time and hard work, he has made a complete recovery and says, “If there is anything I took away from this, it is to always keep a positive attitude and to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”

Will Kainen, a three-year senior from White River Junction, Vermont, spoke about getting hurt in a rock climbing accident right when he’d started a new school, so when he had finally recovered enough to return, he was the new kid all over again. “In order to make new friends, I needed to step out of my comfort zone and put in most of the effort myself. I needed to learn how to start conversations with people I didn't know very well. I needed to learn how to be a little funny when I was uncomfortable.”

Two-year senior from Avon, Connecticut Nico Menendez-Featherston talked about siblings, and being the youngest of four. While he didn’t want to speak in clichés, he said, “I encourage every single one of you to find your own way; don’t be caught being the fourth of four, be the one of one.”

Jack Morse, a postgraduate from Rye, New Hampshire, shared a family story about the unexpected place where he learned some valuable life lessons--a local bar he went to with his grandmother in elementary school. “I learned the importance of community, especially when it comes to education... Secondly I learned that education doesn't only take place in the classroom... Most importantly, I learned the importance of non-conformity.”

Four-year senior from Bermuda Connor Slade discussed how his dad has shaped the person he is today. “He is the one that gives me education, a roof over my head, food, water, and most importantly, love. When I’m having a bad day, my dad will always do something to make sure I feel better.”

Samantha Sollinger, a four-year senior from St. Martin, spoke about the people who helped make Suffield a welcoming place for her. From the school athletic trainers to her volleyball coaches to the kitchen staff to the people who keep Suffield’s grounds immaculate, she advised, “Make an effort to reach out beyond your teachers, advisors, coaches, and dorm parents. They aren’t the only people that make up Suffield.”

Avery Rappaport, a four-year senior from Simsbury, Connecticut, chose to write a letter to the sport of her heart, gymnastics. “Your challenges and obstacles served as a long bumpy road but there was always light at the end. Thank you for giving me the best gymnastics career a little girl could ask for.”

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