Campus Life
The Suffield Academy Bell

December 2017 Bell


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NEWS

Greetings From Marge and Mary!

Photo by Molly Gotwals P’09


Marge and Mary would like to thank the faculty and student body for all the wonderful cards we received from you. We were very overwhelmed and thankful! We did not get a chance to see everyone to say goodbye, but we want you to know we will miss you very much and we thank you for all your love and support.
 
We hope you all have a very good year!
 
Sending our love,
Mary and Marge

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Ally Week

Article by Ari Shah ‘20

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Ally Week occurs in the second week of January every year. Hosted by the Gay Straight Alliance, or GSA club, it is the club’s biggest event celebrating pride. READ MORE

    GSA meetings provide a supportive environment in which people can share personal stories of being members in the LGBTQ+ community or their experiences as an ally. This year, GSA plans to meet and hold educational discussions with other diverse groups, as well as host Ally Week. This important week is one in which GSA hopes to spread awareness and develop ideas for change in Suffield Academy. From Monday to Saturday, GSA will have activities, flyers, and colorful decorations to celebrate pride and help people understand what it means to be an ally. Those in GSA believe there is lots of room for change on campus and by working alongside the student body, our community as a whole will grow, mature, and become more accepting of those around us. Ally Week will be a great way to begin a school-wide forum on inclusivity and the importance of diversity. The group is working hard to make this year’s Ally Week one that is brimming with healthy activity and discussion and to help change our campus for the better.

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Women in Math & Science Lecture Series

Article by Mariia Kalacheva ’18 - Photos by Hillary Rockwell Cahn ’88

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

FEATURES

4 Out of 414

Article by Isabella Attianese ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Eugenie Davis ’21 is a new freshman from Thailand, which is about 8,570 miles from Suffield Academy. She has already become quite involved with the Suffield community. She claims that the perk of being from so far away from home is that she is able to experience two entirely different sides of the world.  READ MORE


    She says that she tends to struggle with the time difference because it makes it difficult to contact her parents throughout the day. The traveling itself also becomes a hassle, due to the numerous flights she must take to travel to and from Thailand. However, she explains that traveling has provided her with maturity because she is able to meet so many new people and learn about contrasting cultures. 

    Vorachat (Elm) Piyasombatkul ’21 is a freshman from a small town in Thailand called Nonthaburi, which is 8,577.4 miles away from Suffield, Connecticut. He explains how being at such a distance from home, introduced him to the concept of diversity; prior to Suffield he attended the International School of Bangkok, where everyone was Thai. Elm loves the difference in culture here, especially the more relaxed community here in comparison to the strict rules back in Thailand. He does have difficulties with the time difference, because the US and Thailand have conflicting time zones of 12 hours, resulting in extreme jetlag. However, Suffield has allowed him to fulfill his passions and continue his love for physics as well as his love for squash, while opening him up to an entirely different way of life.
     
    Minh Nguyen ’20 is a sophomore from Vietnam, which is about 8,091 miles away from Suffield Academy. He explains that his move from Vietnam to the US was actually not as difficult as anticipated. He says the culture is very similar and he is a fairly adaptable person, which made the move much easier. Initially, he did struggle with homesickness, but now he finds it much easier to fit in with the community offered here. One negative side of the traveling is the amount of time it takes to get from one place to another. Minh says the overall trip takes about 24 hours, and that the first time it was exciting for him, but now it has become a quite tiring process. Outside of the struggles with traveling, he finds Suffield a great place where he can carry out his hobbies and find his place.
     
    Oak Chaisathaporn ’19 is a junior from Thailand, which means that, like Eugene, home for him is about 8,570 miles from Suffield Academy. Oak says that coming from Thailand to the small town of Suffield was quite a culture shock, because the demographic, culture, and surrounding community contrast one another. When he first arrived on campus, he felt overwhelmed with homesickness but Suffield’s warm community enabled him to find his place here and start creating a life for himself—socially and academically. He is appreciative of the independence he has while being a part of the Suffield community. Living in Fuller with his friends, has been an unforgettable experience, and he will miss them all once he returns home to Thailand. Oak speaks from the heart when he says, “Constantly traveling back and forth between Suffield and Thailand forces me to realize how fortunate I am to come study this far away from home and gives me the true opportunity to establish myself as an individual at the Academy.” 

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Elective Lottery History

Article by Pat Cordes ’18 - Photo by Tobye Cook Seck ’88

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Each year, there comes a time for senior students to choose electives, classes that are available to those students who have already completed their core graduation requirements. Some may dread the change, some may adore it. I sat down with Ms. Yeager, the Academic Dean, to learn more about the process and the history behind it.  READ MORE


    During Ms. Yeager’s ninth year here at Suffield, she found herself in the middle of an elective crisis. During the last week of fall term, students would sign up for their winter and spring electives. Before the lottery was created the system was first come, first served. The variety of eight elective classes held an average of fifteen students – these numbers remain the same to this day. After a couple years of electives being offered, students found more creative ways to enroll in the class of their choice. They started lining up in front of Memorial at four o’clock in the morning, in order to secure their first-choice course. Following this trend, day students had the natural advantage. They brought tents and sleeping bags to set up camp, waiting the morning out.

    After a couple security encounters, Ms. Yeager decided that it was in the best interest of the students’ health to change the way senior electives were chosen. She pushed the time back to seven o’clock, so both the boarders and day students had a fair shot. This, in turn, resulted in even more chaos. Kids would swarm the door, all trying to get their respected spot. One girl even was hurt from being pushed by the crowd.

    After rethinking the process for a second time, Ms. Yeager decided to try a lottery system, which we still have today. This system helps most students get the elective they want and leaves very, very few kids disappointed. Additionally, with each new year, there is a growth of new, exciting courses. For instance, new classes like Dr. Fuller’s Creative Nonfiction and Ms. Gotwals’ Modern Multi-Cultural Voices give students class options that feed into their personal interests.
    In the end, one of Suffield Academy’s goals is to prepare students for college and beyond. This very lottery system is used by many schools across the nation to distribute elective courses. Sometimes life rolls in your favor, sometimes not. When the elective process comes around, it is important to remember what is important. The lottery system is beside the point and should not take up your main focus. Students should be happy that they have the chance to learn about ideas that do not take place in traditional core classrooms. We are given the opportunity to learn about topics of our own independent interest. 

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Exam Week

Article by Kate Rookey ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

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Commitments On & Off Campus

Article by Sarah Swanson ’18 - Photo by Audrey Arthur ’19

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Days spent at Suffield Academy are often packed with club meetings, sports practice, and study hall. As a result, many of us have a hard time even imagining what it would be like to fit a part-time job into our schedule. Regardless, there are several students who bravely take on the responsibility of a part-time job throughout the school year.  READ MORE


    Among these students is the accomplished Big Y service clerk, Rory Tettemer ’18. This past February, Rory began working at what he refers to as “the premiere grocery story of the Northeast” in order to bring his “his local company to the top of the food chain.” He has been able to balance his commitment between work and school by working only on Sundays until he takes on more hours in the winter and spring. This increase in hours will become more feasible as he takes the winter season off from sports. More time spent at Big Y will give him more opportunities to do what he enjoys most: getting to know each customer that comes through his lane. While being a service clerk may seem like a typical job for a high school student, it certainly doesn’t come without its share of excitement. Just this October Rory was involved in stopping a shoplifter. A security guard ordered him to take back a cart full of groceries while a Big Y security guard directed the shoplifter to the police. Rory reflected that the experience was “easily my highlight at Big Y because I helped in catching a shoplifter and got out of a cart shift at the same time.”

    Believe it or not, Rory is not the only student with experience catching a shoplifter! Peyton Beiter ’19 has worked as a brand associate at Old Navy since last June. Similar to Rory, she works on Sundays during the school year and picks up additional hours during the summer. Just recently, Peyton witnessed a man walk out of the store with an entire stack of jeans. Since the Old Navy store policy states that employees are not permitted to chase customers out of the store for safety reasons, Peyton says she had to “just stand there and watch this man take 4 pairs of jeans and just waltz out!”

    While Jenna Polidoro ’18 has never experienced shoplifting, perhaps the most exciting part of her job is that she does not have to step foot off campus. She is one of several students who work as lifeguards on the Suffield Academy pool deck. While Jenna was certified as a lifeguard during winter break last year, she began working this fall during varsity and JV water polo practices on Friday afternoons. Jenna says the best part of her job is watching the pool “from a different perspective,” as she is normally in the water herself!

    While it can often be a challenge to fit it in, having a part-time position during the school year it is certainly possible, especially by senior year. There is no doubt that those who make the commitment to a position on or off campus have the opportunity to learn valuable life skills. They may even get to stop a crime as it unfolds!

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Ghana

Article & Photos by Michaela Domino ’19

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Every Thanksgiving break, Mrs. Wiggin takes about 12 kids to Ghana with her to help out with the orphanage and with her school. Prior to leaving for Ghana, I briefly interviewed Mrs. Wiggin about the trip and what to expect. Most of the questions focused on simple topics, such as explaining our work plan and describing what we were taking with us. Little did I know that there would be no possible way to sum up this trip with any words, never mind a 45-minute conversation. READ MORE


    Nonetheless, a few things really did resonate with me long after our chat. When I asked her what her favorite part of Ghana was, she replied, without hesitation, “The people. The children.” There was true commitment in her voice when speaking about these kids. I now understand why. There is nothing there that can compare to the beauty of these people inside and out. They are fun in each aspect of their lives, loving towards absolutely everyone, and vehemently thankful for everything that they have (which is next to nothing by American standards). She then went into detail and said something that I believe truly hits the spot with these kids, “They’re so beautiful and they are so genuine. They are not destroyed by technology and affluence. They are just raw and they are like sponges. Somebody is paying for them to go to school and they are so appreciative of the fact that they get to go to school and potentially change their lives.” 

    “Mama Kim” surely knew how to word herself there. She understands the children and how grateful they are as well as how sincere they are. Over the past five years, she has seen all of these things to come to be. She has her own little family in Ghana, a family that we were all so privileged to be a part of. Even apart from the family, every person was so welcoming. Driving through the streets right as we got there, all of our preconceptions were thrown out the window when we noticed how every single person stopped, smiled from ear to ear and then waved at us with enthusiasm. This was further revealed when it came to working in the orphanage, Hearts of the Father Outreach. Each kid was so openhearted and hospitable towards each of us. They bombarded us with hugs right as we got there, before they even knew most of our names.

    This warmth continued the entire time we were in Ghana. At Lilies of the Field Academy, Mrs. Wiggin’s school, the most amazing thing to see was how all of the kids were so eager to learn. They all bolted out of their chairs when they knew the answer, fervent to share their knowledge with the rest of the students. These kids were brimming with knowledge, and it is because they came to school ready to learn. They had been given this opportunity to really make something of their lives. It is in their hands what they do with their gift. This trip was a most miraculous and remarkable adventure. If anyone is every wondering if they should go, yes. The answer is yes. You will be eternally grateful for each and every blessing that these people bring to your lives. 

EDITORIALS

Division Within Community Events

Article by Devina Bhalla ’18 - Photo by Maya Grant ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

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Fatal Flaw in American Gun Purchasing Background Checks

Article by Caleigh Horrigan ’18 - Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • For decades, gun control has been a heavily debated topic in our country. It is up for debate now more than ever. Many people’s first reactions after tragedies such as the recent church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas is to advocate stricter laws prohibiting certain types of guns and making it more difficult to purchase a gun. However,  many people fail to realize the complexity and uniqueness of every shooting. Understanding these differences is the only way to truly work towards preventing more horrifying attacks.  READ MORE


    What makes the Texas shooting different is the fact that gunman Devin P. Kelley should never have been able to legally obtain a gun given his dishonorable discharge from the military yet, somehow, he did. Kelley was convicted of assaulting his wife and stepson while serving in the Air Force, which was the reason for his discharge, but the Air Force failed to report the conviction. This seemingly small error cost twenty-six people their lives and revealed a devastating flaw in the gun purchasing background check system.

    However, this is not the only time a mass murder has been the fault of a seemingly minor mistake in the system. Back in 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof fatally shot nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof also should never have been able to legally purchase a gun, given that he had previously admitted to having been in possession of a controlled substance. Unfortunately, a mistake on the F.B.I.’s part in combination with a three-day waiting period rule allowed Roof to buy a gun and commit a deadly attack. The independent shop that supplied Roof with a weapon followed standard procedure and called the F.B.I. seeking approval to sell him a gun. The F.B.I. did not give permission and began looking into Dylan Roof’s history. Under federal law, the F.B.I. has three days to find sufficient evidence to deny a gun purchase, after those three days, if no evidence is found the purchaser can return and legally obtain a gun. The examiner investigating Roof’s past called the wrong police department and failed to obtain the police report stating his conviction and, as a result, Roof was able to obtain a gun.

    No amount of gun laws could have prevented either of these criminals from purchasing guns legally. The real fault lies with the enforcement of existing laws and the gun purchasing background checks. Rather than lobbying against guns entirely, Americans should look into the true causes of these errors in the system and work towards preventing them. In the face of this most recent tragedy in Texas, it is important to remember, that while these crimes may be senseless acts of violence, there is a solution, and America owes the families of the victims to strive to correct its mistakes.
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THE ARTS

Applying to Art Schools

Article by Juhi Rayonia ’18 - Photo by Maya Grant ’18 - Painting by Tori Tryon ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • When someone has a passion in the arts, being able to immerse oneself in its study is the most rewarding experience. You are able to practice your craft, meet others with the same passion, and earn career opportunities doing what you love.  READ MORE


    At Suffield Academy, a number of seniors and I are looking to attend college for an education in the arts. Applying to art schools for art majors is quite different than the standard college process. There are usually portfolios and auditions involved, and acceptance is not only based on academic excellence, but also on artistic talent. Meg Durhager ’18, who is applying to schools for acting/theatre performance, commented, “The college process itself is already a lot and on top of that you have to prepare your audition/portfolio materials…it really shows you what you're going to be handling at the college level. I personally have faced difficulties with preparing between organizing auditions, getting materials together and everything else in between, there's a lot of requirements that different schools have and not all of them line up among the schools, which can be difficult in itself.” Creating portfolios and filming or scheduling auditions is an arduous process that takes up a significant portion of a senior’s busy schedule. Max Wiener ’18 is also pursuing the performing arts and says, "The arts college process is so much more work than any other major and it is hard…I never really felt overwhelmed until Chapman sent me two extra essays right as I hit submit for my creative supplement. However, I never really had any challenges with meeting the portfolio requirements and auditions because other people were always pushing me and I always push myself to get things done.”

    A support system including faculty, friends, family, and artistic peers really helps get through the unique college process. When colleges ask for so much from the student, motivation and inspiration come from all different aspects of the student’s life. Yet a college portfolio can also inhibit your creativity. Tori Tryon ’18, who is looking to go to college for visual arts, spoke about her Drexel University portfolio, “It was hard because I had to choose certain pieces out of my work. There were so many I wanted to show, but I could only pick a few.” Art teachers such as Mrs. Graham, Mrs. Fuller, Mr. Butcher, Mrs. Caginalp, Ms. Kane, Mr. Dugan, and Mr. Gotwals really do help with choosing your best work in order to showcase your full potential. Maya Grant ‘18, who is pursuing photography, explains, “While portfolios can be stressful, getting opinions from teachers and those around you makes it a lot easier to feel comfortable with what you are putting into your application.” I am also currently applying to colleges to major in art, and my experience is definitely different from my classmates who plan to major in programs like marketing, business, medicine, and sports management. However, even though it has been stressful and complicated, I know that in less than a year, I will be studying something I am passionate about, and it will be exciting, engaging, and fulfilling.

    Best of luck to all applicants!

SPORTS

Kicking off PPMD Fundraising with the Football Team

Article by Megan Swanson ’21 - Photos by Sarah Swanson ’18

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • On Saturday, November 11th, the Suffield Academy community hosted their own Coach to Cure MD football game. Coach to Cure MD is a subdivision of PPMD that works closely with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); it was created to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The event at Suffield consisted of a dining hall dinner beforehand, a halftime raffle, and a coin toss by MD patient Brendan Labbadia. His whole family flew up from Florida to join the school in this event.   READ MORE


    On this one night, $2,000 was raised for the 2017-2018 school charity. This was made possible through donations, concession stand sales, and raffle ticket sales. The donations from the Suffield Academy dining hall and local businesses including Mrs. Murphy's donuts and Jeff's Kettle Corn were particularly helpful.

    Students in the community were able to get involved and show their spirit in multiple different ways. The school football team and coaches were able to involved by inviting Brendan onto the field as an honorary senior and captain. Student council members volunteered their time towards selling both concessions and raffle tickets while learning more about the charity from the info booth. Spirit committee helped significantly by running the pep rally and organizing the game’s blackout theme. The Suffield Academy Dance Company also spent the week choreographing and rehearsing a dance to entertain the crowd at halftime.

    When asked what she thought about the event, Vice President Sarah Swanson ’18 and this year’s School Charity Leader commented, “While raising money was an added bonus, raising awareness was the main focus of the Coach to Cure MD football game. It was most important to me that the Labbadia family could join us so the students could meet Brendan and hear his story in person from Colleen.”

    With regard to incorporating sports into the yearly charity for years to come, Swanson noted that, “Although a football game with the exact same fundraisers may not align with future charities, I do hope that student council chooses to connect the school charity with athletics in a similar way in future years. An athletic event provides a great opportunity to extend awareness to fans, including family members. The excitement that surrounds a game can easily be channeled into fundraising, as we saw at the pep rally this year!” The game was an incredible opportunity for students and faculty to come together in support of this year’s charity. Community members were introduced to an MD patient, and donated their time and support to the fight to “End Duchenne!”

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A Proud Moment for Suffield Tigers

Article by Gabriella Tosone ’20 - Photo by Hillary Rockwell Cahn ’88

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • The women’s varsity field hockey team has had an excellent and successfully undefeated season here at Suffield. The entire Suffield community is very proud and excited about the victories the team has had. It was exciting to watch as they brought in win after win.   READ MORE


    Many of the girls on the team said that the varsity field hockey coaches Coach Sweeney, Coach Vianney, and Coach Lopez P ’21 pushed every single athlete to the best of their personal abilities and were always dedicated to the program as a whole in order to help each team member improve and enjoy the sport as much as they enjoy coaching it. 

    The girls were inspired to continue to succeed every practice and game by seeing how dedicated their coaches were to the sport they all love so dearly. The team and the coaches both worked hard to push one another to play to the best of their ability and to improve not only individually but as a team as well. Many of the girls say that their team chemistry is the strongest they have ever experienced and it is with the combination of each players’ strengths that brought the team such a successful season. It was clear to spectators that the women’s varsity field hockey team was very close because of the encouragement and support each player showed to the others. It has been exciting to watch the women’s varsity field hockey team work their way together to the victorious 17-0 season with the help of dedicated coaches, captains, and players. Field hockey has made the Suffield community proud! Go Tigers!

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New Coach: Mr. Pistel '08

Article by Nicole Lee ’19 - Photos by Audrey Arthur ’19

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • This summer, Suffield welcomed seven new faculty members. Among these, Mr. Pistel ‘08, returned to Suffield this summer as an Associate Director of Development. Along with his role as a director, Mr. Pistel will also be coaching girls’ varsity squash this upcoming winter.  READ MORE


    Mr. Pistel possesses a very strong background in squash both as a player and as a coach. He played squash and soccer at St. Lawrence University. When he became unable to play soccer, he invested all his effort and passion into squash. He then transferred to George Washington University, where he captained the squash team and led the team to CSA Summers Cup Championship in 2012.

    Taking his interest in squash further, he coached the Georgetown women’s program and helped run a squash skills clinic every Saturday for local children in the DC area. His special interest in squash started at Suffield. He said, “I wasn’t a big squash player before Suffield. Soccer always came first, but squash fostered many skills that I could implement in soccer.” He also added that his affection towards his teammates and his coach played a significant role in developing the interest, “Coach Pentz was instrumental in developing me into a squash player and further introducing me to the sport”.

    Mr. Pistel expressed his excitement for the season to begin with a strong core team and new athletes with great passion for squash. He has already been spending plenty of time playing squash with some of the players during this past season. He added, “My goal for the program is to be very competitive in New Englands while providing the girls with a fun, memorable team and athletic experience. I find there is nothing better than representing your school and I expect the girls to proudly embody Suffield's spirit.” With his strong passion and talent for squash, it is clear that he will be playing a significant role as a new varsity coach. 

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Sports Recap

Article by Gabriella Tosone ’20 - Photos by Hillary Rockwell Cahn ’88

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Suffield’s athletic teams finished up a successful season!    READ MORE

    Varsity Football  6-3-0
     
    JV Football  2-3-1
     
    Boys Varsity Soccer  13-6-1
     
    Boys JV Soccer    10-4-0
     
    Boys Soccer Tiger A  9-5-1
     
    Boys Soccer Tiger B  2-6-1
     
    Girls Varsity Soccer  13-4-2
     
    Girls JV Soccer  5-9-0
     
    Boys Cross Country  4-1-0
     
    Girls Cross Country  8-2-0
     
    Girls Varsity Field Hockey  18-1-0
     
    Girls JV Field Hockey  1-7-6
     
    Girls Varsity Volleyball  12-5-0
     
    Girls JV Volleyball  2-10-0
     
    Boys Varsity Water Polo  9-9-0
     
    Boys JV Water Polo  1-7-0
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411