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The Class of 2018 Speaker Series – Words from our Seniors


The senior speaker series began on September 25 and featured nine members of the Class of 2018: Sedley Benitz, Drea Breck, Eva Hafner, Jovana Kovac, Bailey Hyland, Dana Mills, Ben Bonavita, Erin Hayes, and Nia Marshall.
 
The series launched last year with the Class of 2017 as an addition to the chapel program where all seniors delivered a speech, presentation, or performance to the Suffield Academy community. Headmaster Charlie Cahn said he hoped the program would serve as a formative experience for the seniors, an opportunity to strengthen community, and a way to continue providing engaging chapel programming. These talks are supplemented by traditional chapel events including the Alumni Leadership Day program, Student Council Elections, and Kent-Davis Speaking Competition during Commencement week.
 
A four-year senior from West Palm Beach, Florida, Sedley Benitz presented a slide show of her digital and film photography. Drea Breck and Eva Hafner shared photos and video featuring special moments captured throughout their years at Suffield. “Regardless of whether or not you are in the video, everyone has made an impact on me in some way,” commented Eva. A native to Serbia, Jovan Kovac shared a slideshow celebrating the lesser known facts and unique culture of her country. Bailey Highland spoke about diversity and inclusion. “All of us have very different backgrounds and stories,” she noted. “Diversity is a key element to life at Suffield and what makes it a remarkably special place.” Dana Mills shared a personal story about success and happiness and advised her peers to pursue what makes them feel most content and fulfilled. Ben Bonavita spoke about an impactful summer reading book inspired by the life and service of ex-NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman. After suffering an ACL injury during a basketball showcase, Erin Hayes discussed what she learned during physical rehab and working with the TB12 Sports Therapy Center. “We all face challenges and are hit with adversity when we least expect it,” she explained. “We can either persevere or quit when times get tough. Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react.” A postgraduate from Jersey City, New Jersey, Nia Marshall talked about her passion for basketball and presented a highlight reel of her accomplishments on the court.
 
The senior speaker series will resume on October 2.

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