The Bell: Fall 2020
Black Lives Matter
| Written by Naila Gomez ’21 |
On Saturday, October 10, the town of Suffield gathered to celebrate Diversity through the voices of youth speakers and artists. This event was coordinated by ABAR Suffield which stands for Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Suffield. The straightforward name represents the important message that was intended to be delivered that day. From a 9-year-old activist to high school students, the youth of Suffield made their stance clear: Black Lives Matter. It was amazing to see the amount of love and community that was present in that space as participants gathered to listen, learn, and celebrate.
Photo: Naila Gomez ’21
Photo: Tobye Cook ’88, P’16
It warmed my heart to see my teachers and fellow peers rush to stand in solidarity and create a physical barrier to shield the presenter. This moment perfectly illustrated the use of white allyship in the Black Lives Matter Movement. It embodied the use of privilege and power to uplift and protect those who are muffled by oppression. Love prevailed as the event continued and brave speakers went up to the podium to talk about their experience growing up as a person of color in a predominantly white town like Suffield. Overall, this event was a major step for Suffield and the promotion of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The Reality of Today
| written by Sharon Chidinma Esielem ’23 |
Black Lives Matter. This statement has been the cause of chaos and contemplation for America this past summer. Coupled with the recent pandemic, the atmosphere of this country has turned hopeless. Suffield Academy, however, has made it their mission to replenish a calm in the 21,000 feet they inhabit.
This year, Suffield’s school theme is empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. To support this theme, Suffield’s community text was Between the World and Me, a published letter written by Ta-Nehisi Coates to his son about the harsh realities of being black in the United States. This book confronts the ugly truth about the presence of racism in America, but also shares the personal feelings of a black father to his black son. As readers, the book blurs the clarity we once thought we had as citizens and pushes us to emphasize with the plight of black people.
Beyond our theme of empathy, Suffield students and faculty have also pushed for more facilities for the black students on campus. Mrs. Warren, the Cultural Diversity Director, spoke of plans for a stronger and more organized setting for diversity groups. In fact, Chris Jones ’22, George Lucas ’22, and Mr. Nulan have created Young Brown Men (YBM), an affinity group that aims to create a supportive and safe space for the black and brown boys on campus. Plans for more course offerings about black history and mentorship programs are also in the works. However, clubs are not the only place Suffield is trying to be more conscious.
Mrs. Warren believes awareness starts in the classroom. She says it is “important that the adults are all on the same page and can go into a classroom and have challenging conversations, being well versed in the same vocabulary. “As a matter of fact, Sophia Kim of 2023 said she has observed more discussion about Black Lives Matter in her classes. “In my history and English classes, although it sometimes is tough and uncomfortable, I have seen more discussion about race and its reality in our lives. I think we’re taking that first step and starting to look at ourselves.”
These efforts all convey, as Head of School Mr. Cahn said at Convocation, that we, as an academy, “clearly proclaim Black Lives Matter,” and that this sentiment is a fundamental truth that we must live out every day in every aspect in the Suffield family.
| written by Jenna Daly ’21 |
As Suffield students gradually return to campus, many feel a sense of normalcy entering their lives again. While it is great to be going back, there are many parts of Suffield that are vastly different, including sports. Suffield athletics started this year as fun activities for the boarders to engage in while learning virtually. They transitioned into regular team practices when day students arrived at campus and live classes began.
Photos: Jenna Daly ’21
During the two-week quarantine, there were only small periods of time where boarders could leave their dorms. A large portion of this was allocated for boarders to stay healthy and get active. They were able to participate in activities like kickball, basketball, tennis, and frisbee golf, which Mr. Gamere, Co-Athletic Director, said “was fun until we lost all of the frisbees.” Students were also allowed to use part of the turf fields to practice their fall sports instead of participating in the day’s activity.
Various decisions have been made about the fall athletic season, but there are still a lot of unknowns that may affect sports as the season continues. All traditional fall sports teams will be practicing, including at least one sub-varsity team for most sports. There will also be opportunities to practice other sports like tennis, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and swimming. Tennis is a full-time fall sport this year, but the others are in addition to a regular fall sport. This means that multi-sport athletes do not have to miss out on either. Suffield is talking to a few other schools in hopes of some interscholastic competitions in October and November.
There are various precautions put into place in order for teams to practice and stay safe. There is no decision yet on spectators at sporting events, but Mr. Gamere said, “we have a lot of space on campus, so I could see that potentially happening.” Practice schedules and locker room rules have changed to keep athletes and coaches safe. Athletes will at least be wearing masks to and from practice.
Suffield has a long tradition of competitive sports teams that contribute to the school’s community. Some changes have been made, but Suffield athletics will remain the same at their core. Mr. Gamere explained that the staff “is excited to have everyone back” and they will be working hard to keep everyone on campus.
World of Sports
| written by Will Schmitz ’21 |
After a long wait, sports around the country and the world have returned in the last month or so. Here in the United States, the NBA and NHL are deep in their postseason play with high stakes games being played nightly.
In order to play as they did back in July, some changes were necessary. Both leagues elected to return to play in a “Bubble” format, with one or two locations hosting all games and teams to isolate them from any outside contact and prevent exposure to Covid-19. The NBA made its home at Disney, with teams being housed in the resort hotels and playing their games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The level of isolation event went as far as to prohibit the ordering of takeout food and receiving it from the driver. The NHL opted to take a two-location approach, choosing Edmonton and Toronto as the host cities. They played out their regular season and began postseason play in that format. Both leagues resumed their play in late July. Meanwhile, the NFL has just returned, jumping right into play without a preseason and recently completing its second week of regular season games. Unlike the aforementioned leagues, the NFL has opted not to employ a bubble format. Rather, they are letting the teams play in their home stadiums. Some teams have even allowed a limited number of fans into the stadiums for games. They test weekly, and all players must pass a test on Saturday morning before being eligible to play on Sunday. So far, they have had zero positive tests since the season began. In week two, the effect of no preseason and limited off-season practices seems to be taking a toll on the league; Many high-profile players are sustaining injuries that could potentially rule them out for weeks or even the season. The return of sports has been widely popular and appreciated, especially after months and months of nothing to watch or report.
Theater in a Pandemic
| Written by Katya Yurkovskaya ’22 |
This school year at Suffield Academy is going to look quite different from any year before the pandemic. Suffield’s Performing Arts has experienced a lot of changes, from switching the seasons for a musical and play, to live-streaming all performances instead of having a typical audience. Even though the year presents many challenges, Mr. Dugan, the Performing Arts Department Chair, believes that art events will still thrive.
Photos: Norman Slate ’21
Written by Emma Winiarski ’21
Visions of violet stroked across my mind,
brushed into the fibers of my canvas,
painting over the world I left behind.
My vast unknowing my only atlas.
Hazy stretch of lilac hues dipped below
a blinding sun. Consume my concentration
fully, in spite of my restless hollow.
My fear famished by imagination.
My first breath, a rebirth of indulgence.
Inflicting insecurities flushed,
warmly enveloped in your fragrance.
The world I left behind utterly crushed.
You carry on with silent stillness,
accepting me of my true nature.
Unearth a sentiment of worthiness.
Why can’t others model your behavior?
The world I left behind I must return,
and while my back faces your blinding sun
I will not forget what I’ve come to learn.
Your lessons I pass onto everyone.
Beyond myself, to those however grown
to be embraced regardless and forever,
so that each feels compelled to be one’s own
in worlds devoid of fields of lavender.
Sarah Kurbanov ’21
Mason Kumiega ’21
Head of Editorials
James Muslu ’21
Megan Swanson ’21
Head of Arts
Jenna Daly ’21
Elm Piyasombatkul ’21
Emma Winiarski ’21
Head of Arts
Katya Yurkovskaya ’22
Head of Sports
Will Schmitz ’21
Chidinma Esielem ’23
Joe Muslu ’23
Naila Gomez ’21
Norman Slate ’21
Jack Lynam ’21
Molly Gotwals P’09
Design & Layout
Tobye Cook ’88, P’16