The Class of 2017 Speaker Series – Words from our Seniors
Suffield’s senior speaker series continued on January 23 and featured eight members of the Class of 2017: Kirsti Kokko, John Lee, Chloe Rogalin, Anna Wilson, Matt Jusczyk, Julia Muprhy, Jae Woo Lee, and Zach Mooney.
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.
Kirsti Kokko began by recognizing humorous stereotypes often used when describing people from the American south and her home in Mississippi. “But most importantly, you might be a southerner if you are hospitable,” she concluded. “For all the funny or weird things you might think about the south, I have never felt more welcomed or at home anywhere else. I chose Suffield because it was the closest version of home I could find up here.” John Lee discussed the pitfalls of the Brazilian government in preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Chloe Rogalin shared an emotional and personal talk about a stigma of sadness associated with her hometown of Newtown, Connecticut. She spoke about healing, kindness, and moving on from tragedy. Anna Wilson discussed copyright infringement and how her knowledge and skill has grown as a graphic designer. Facing his fear of heights, Matt Jusczyk showed a video from the postgraduate high ropes training exercise this past fall. Guilty of being a perfectionist and burdened by the fear of failure, Julia Murphy explained how to alleviate the pressure people often put on themselves. Jae Woo Lee talked about his journey through athletics in encouraging others to pursue new challenges, while accomplished skier, football, and baseball player Zach Mooney took the time to discuss his family’s white water rafting company on the Deerfield River. “Embrace who you are, where you come from, and the things you do outside of Suffield Academy,” he acknowledged. “There is more to all of us than what we do here on campus.”