Suffield’s College Counseling and Alumni & Development Offices hosted the eighth college-to-career virtual discussion of the year on May 4. The program invites alums to speak with interested students about their careers, college major choices, and experiences at Suffield. As part of the junior-year Leadership Program curriculum, the goal is to expose current students to life beyond Suffield and provide guidance from alumni working in various fields.
Billy Glidden ’10 is a writer who was born and raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts. A 2010 graduate of Suffield Academy and a 2014 graduate of Williams College, he worked for several years as an aide and speechwriter to Mayor Morse of Holyoke, Massachusetts. He also spent five years working for a housing and mental health nonprofit in New York City, where he advocated for the human rights of people experiencing homelessness. Today he is a Senior Writer at REFORM Alliance, the only national organization dedicated to transforming probation and parole systems. He also serves as the chair of Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia’s Citizen Advisory Council on Housing.
After talking about his path from Suffield to Williams College to his professional career, Billy answered a student’s question about why he began advocating for the homeless, saying, “Issues of fairness and justice, those were always a big part of my life. That was a part of me that was embraced and nurtured at Suffield... I always felt that if I could tie my work and my interests somehow to efforts around ameliorating that suffering then I would have a greater sense of purpose and meaning and gratitude in my life.” He also spoke about how writing became such an integral part of his life, saying, “A love of writing starts with a love of reading. I was always a big, big reader from the time I was little... I learned a love of language early and was always very moved by that.” He concluded his talk with some advice to the juniors: “Try to cultivate some gratitude in your day to day... Whatever college you get into, whatever you end up doing, it’s gonna be great, and you’re going to be a part of this wider Suffield family for the rest of your lives.”
Juniors preparing for the college application process are heavily supported by Suffield’s college counselors and alumni mentors. While their college choice is an important decision in their lives, the mentoring sessions provide insight into many unanswered questions. It is made very clear that communication is a key to success and there is more than one way to accomplish a rewarding future.