The senior speaker series continued on October 9 and featured six members of the Class of 2021: Reece Apgar, Silas Casertano, Eugenie Davis, Daniel Ennis, Amethyst McKenzie, and James Muslu.
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.
From Brookfield, Connecticut, Reece Apgar recognized seven of his closest friends and explained why they are so important in his life: Christian, Olivia, Karli, Shane, Molly, Jack, and brother Carter. “Carter is always there to pick me up when I’m down and I’m forever grateful for the role model of a brother I have. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for him. I am so thankful to have a brother like you to look up to and who has given me so many memories I will never forget.”
Introducing his 12-year-old Gordon setter named Moxie and 6-year-old lab mix named Otis, Silas Casertano (Cheshire, Connecticut) made one clear statement: “Don’t let your dogs be a better person than you.” Speaking on equality and justice he stated, “We have to start striving to see ourselves in others and consider their needs and lives in the same we consider our own. Everyone deserves life. Everyone deserves love. I promise your dog thinks so.”
From North Granby, Connecticut, Student Council President Daniel Ennis talked about lasting memories and having a positive outlook towards the future. “Hang on to the memories of the good times,” he advised. “When things get tough, look back on the past and smile. To the freshmen that don’t have those memories yet, you will. Even if things aren’t back to normal next year, you’ll make new and different memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.”
“True accomplishment is achieved when one embarks into uncharted waters, taking on the monster that lies deep below the crashing waves,” said James Muslu from Longmeadow, Massachusetts. “In my own case, this fierce beast opposing me was taekwondo. Even though I have physically left taekwondo behind, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit form an inseparable part of my personality. These tenets of taekwondo act as reminders to ground myself in this ever-changing world we call reality.”
It took Amethyst McKenzie (St. James, Barbados) nearly a year to learn Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in 3rd Movement. Before presenting her piano performance played in C# Minor and in presto agitato (very quick and with excitement), she concluded, “Life’s about the journey—setting a goal and executing that goal but while also having a good time. This recording took four attempts and has lots of mistakes but I am very proud of it and happy to play it for you all today.”
A four-year senior from Bangkok, Thailand, Eugenie Davis spoke about her Suffield Academy experience: “I wanted to learn, meet new people, and make incredible friends here. At Suffield I was able to grow as a learner and person. Trying new things such as the musical, guitar show, volleyball, softball, and continue snowboarding are just some of the activities I was able to do. I met amazing people, especially in this advisory, who just make me laugh, and I am so very thankful to have been with them over the course of my Suffield career.”
The senior speaker series will resume on October 16. You may view all chapel talks here.