The Class of 2018 Speaker Series – Words from our Seniors
The senior speaker series continued on October 30 and featured six members of the Class of 2018: James Kagan, Pat Cordes, James Mignone, Mariia Kalacheva, Leticia Sadilina, and Carlos Salguero.
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.
From Yekaterinburg, Russia, James Kagan discussed the nerves he encountered when preparing a public speech. Pat Cordes talked about what being a teammate meant to him. A four-year senior from Suffield, Connecticut, James Mignone analyzed the many lessons learned while working as a sales associate for Vineyard Vines. From Moscow, Mariia Kalacheva spoke about the vulnerability of being an international student. “Most of the things we dislike about ourselves are only in our head and we cannot use force to fight them,” she said. “That star—whatever you think it is for you—is much closer than you think.” After spending time this summer traveling the famous northwestern route of Spain, Comino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James), Leticia Sadilina offered advice on overcoming challenges. “Unfortunately, some of our internal values are too often overlooked and we forget about our best ones: human kindness and compassion,” she concluded. “I became aware of how limited my perception of the world had been. I learned to focus on others instead of focusing on the boundaries of my own selfishness.” Carlos Salguero concluded by playing an original composition written by his father and on his father’s guitar. The senior speaker series will resume on November 6. You may view chapel presentations here