The Class of 2018 Speaker Series – Words from our Seniors
The senior speaker series continued on October 23 and featured seven members of the Class of 2018: Jack Samenuk, Katherine Kelley, Max Weiner, Maya Grant, Mac Keating, Michael Stern, and Brock Zenker.
The series launched last year with the Class of 2017 as part of Suffield’s chapel program where all seniors delivered a speech, presentation, or performance to the 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. Guest speaker Alepho Deng spoke about Rwandan genocide on October 16. His visit was sponsored by the Cahn family Fund, established in memory of Headmaster Charlie Cahn’s parents.
Recalling fond memories of his family and childhood, Jack Samenuk explained how a house can become a home. Mac Keating discussed the impact of music as therapy and shared songs that influenced him profoundly. “Music can produce any feeling or emotion you want,” he said. “If you don’t feel different emotions from music then you just haven’t found the right song yet.” Max Weiner provided a humorous talk detailing his adjustment to Suffield as a new junior last year. “The thing about Suffield is that it is such an embracing community and that is why I love it,” he noted. “I can be anything I want to be and people here will encourage it. They embrace difference. I can honestly say I am the happiest I have ever been and it is because of Suffield Academy.” From San Francisco, Michael Stern outlined the many reasons he is so proud of the city and its culture. With a slideshow featuring the scenic landscape of Red Bank, New Jersey, Brock Zenker declared, “Although Bruce Springsteen, Wawa, and Snooki are among God’s greatest gifts, New Jersey has a lot more to offer than people think.” Katherine Kelley spoke about taking chances and overcoming her fear of rollercoasters. “We all need to take risks, because if we don’t life will pass us by,” she affirmed. “Say hi to someone you don’t know. Learn a sport you’ve never played. Get out of your dorm and discover what Suffield is all about.” From the Bahamas, Maya Grant ended the talks by discussing social anxiety. “At Suffield I found the things that brought out the best in me,” she explained. “Photography allowed me to express myself in a way where I didn’t feel judged for who I wanted to be. I wasn’t punished for making mistakes. In fact, some of my best pieces were the result of a mistake. Stand out. Be different. Express yourself even if that means pushing through adversity.”
The senior speaker series will resume on October 30. You may view all chapel presentations here