Seniors Speakers – November 6
The senior speaker series concluded Suffield’s fall term chapel meetings on November 6 and featured seven members of the Class of 2018: Bridget Carey, Jenn Ungerleider, Elias Smith, Audrey DuFresne, Carlin Molander, Ben Sylvester, and Tony Xue.
As part of the series all seniors deliver a speech, presentation, or performance to the community. In establishing the program last year, Headmaster Charlie Cahn said he hoped it would serve as a capstone experience to the Leadership Program and an opportunity to further strengthen the Suffield community. 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.
A four-year student from Suffield, Connecticut, Bridget Carey reflected on her remaining time at the Academy and what it already means to her. “The relationships we build define who we are as people, and it is these relationships that make our experience so wonderful,” she said. “Suffield has taught me to not only appreciate the people I have met here but also the people I have been friends with my entire life.” Adopted from Minnesota when she was two years old, Jenn Ungerleider spoke about identity and family. “While I have more to explore and discover about myself I’ve realized I will always know who has been there for me and who will always be there for me,” she noted. “We often forget to appreciate what others have sacrificed for our own well-being.” Elias Smith spoke as if reading from a personal journal of his life. “People have a desperate desire for moments in their lives to have meaning, and as a result they expect certain instances to evoke certain emotions for certain results,” he said. “There is no controlling or creating a meaning to life. Life itself is the meaning. Allowing myself to experience life and all the uncertainty that coincides with is what gives meaning to my life.” Before sharing a never-before-seen Halloween video filmed her freshman year, Audrey DuFresne stated, “Suffield has brought amazing people into my life and I hope everyone enjoys this video and knows I had a blast making it with my best friend.” Carlin Molander then stood to deliver a humorous yet slightly painful video presentation featuring her favorite “smacks” from three years spent on the school’s diving team. A three-year senior from Darien, Connecticut, Ben Sylvester talked about Suffield’s platform of culture and diversity and presented a trick-shot video featuring his friends from Fuller Hall. “By coming to Suffield I’ve gotten to know a wide range of people from Germany to Thailand to the Bronx, New York,” he commented. “I think it is a wonderful idea to blend these cultures while living in dorms. Fuller Hall has been my home for the past two years and has brought great memories. I decided today not to show you my life in Fuller but instead the ones I share it with.” From Changshu, China, Tony Xue spoke briefly about his hometown just two hours northwest of Shanghai. He concluded with remarkable photos to illustrate the beautiful cityscapes and landscapes of the place he calls home.