The Class of 2017 Speaker Series – Words from our Seniors
Part 1: Senior Speakers
The senior speaker series began on October 3 and featured eight members of the Class of 2017: Ashley Sarris, Jeremy Greer, Graham Shannon, John Kuzmeski, David Emerson, Alayna Miller, LJ Luba, and Nadezda Dolyakova. The series is a new addition to the chapel program where all seniors deliver a speech, presentation, or performance to the Suffield Academy community. Headmaster Charlie Cahn said he hopes the program will serve as a formative experience for the seniors, an opportunity to strengthen community, and a way to continue providing engaging chapel programming. These talks will be supplemented by traditional chapel events including the Community Text speaker (Mark Shriver this year), the Alumni Leadership Day program, the Student Council Elections, and the Kent-Davis Speaking Competition during Commencement week.
Performing a favorite monologue from the film Good Will Hunting, Ashley Sarris led off by encouraging her peers to gather real life experiences beyond what might be read in a book or studied in a classroom. “Don’t be afraid to step outside of yourself in order to learn more about yourself,” she offered. Providing informative yet deliberate instruction on procrastination, Jeremy Greer presented his favorite ways to put off doing things while LJ Luba improvised a speech about the several ways of giving a speech without actually having prepared a speech. John Kuzmeski shared ten lesser known facts about himself. Graham Shannon remembered his first experiences as a student at Suffield: being entirely overdressed for Tiger Games, dealing with obstacles, and learning to overcome expectations. Alayna Miller recited a personally meaningful poem titled, “A Very Long Poem,” and David Emerson, great descendent of the famed poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, touched on environmental responsibility, his love for hiking, and the importance of preserving our natural landscapes. Nadezda Dolyakova closed the afternoon by recognizing a game within society and acknowledging a deeper meaning to life. “Your freedom is boundless,” she concluded. “The human experience is limitless. You are here and that is beautiful.”
The senior speaker series will resume on October 10.