Students, faculty, and families gathered in Cochran Chapel on Sunday to listen to five Seniors share reflections of their Andover experiences—senior speeches traditionally given in their final Spring Term. Organized by student body co-presidents Mary Muromcew ’22 and Sean Meng ’22, Seniors Jane Park ’22, Bryce Shufro ’22, Dylan Herlihy ’22, Sophie Glaser ’22, and Kennedy Smith ’22 volunteered to deliver reflections on their time at Andover.
Park was eager to share her Andover story. She felt this was a great opportunity to hear others’ experiences, particularly those of people whom she had previously rarely interacted with. Park’s speech focused on the importance of high school crushes and romances.
“There are approximately 200 people per class. And while I know certain faces, and I’m very close with some of them, rarely is there an opportunity for me to have conversation with […] It definitely is a chance for me to share a piece of my experience and also listen to others’ experiences, some of them that I might not even have had a chance to listen to [otherwise]. So I think it was a great opportunity for me to interact with people who are outside of my friend group, and social circle, and to connect with one another on a deeper level,” said Park.
Park commented on the unique circumstances of the graduating class. The class of 2022 has had more than half of their highschool experience impacted by Covid-19. According to Park, this experience created a bond between the Class of 2022, shown in many people’s Senior Remarks.
“Especially for [the] Class of 2022, we’ve been through so many rarities and so many challenges that when I look back at these four years, they’ll be not just a regular high school experience; it’ll only be something that the Class of 2022 can relate to, whether that is Andover or just graduating seniors all across. And so I think that made this event all the more memorable and special,” said Park.
Bryce Shufro ’22 also delivered a Senior remark about the situation of the Class of 2022. In his speech, he brought light to the fact that despite being close to graduation, the Seniors are still young. He claimed that forgiveness and understanding are important as they continue to grow.
“As I mentioned, our class has endured a lot. Much of it was out of our control—some of it we brought upon ourselves, and some has been because we are growing up during a time when everyone is playing ‘Gotcha.’ What I would say to every student is—don’t forget, all of us are teenagers. Don’t believe me, ask my parents… and house counselors… and advisors—ask yours. Everyone screws up and makes mistakes. But each of the obstacles that we have faced, each mistake that we have made, has happened for us, not to us. We are here to learn and none of us is going to leave unchanged. So, my second point is, try to give people a break—don’t judge each other so quickly—learn to forgive and move on. We all change,” said Shufro in his speech.
Sophie Glaser ’22 talked about separating her identity from Andover. Her experience as a Senior has led her to think about who she is outside of the Academy—an exploration she hopes to share with others.
“My speech was basically about reflecting on my time at Andover. I had a personal journey with defining myself outside of Andover. I spent four years here, and I think a main part of my speech was sort of saying: we learn how to define ourselves and center our lives around this place, and it’s hard once you step out of that bubble to sort of figure out who you are and what you want to do or how you define yourself outside of Andover. And so my speech also was about making that commitment to explore who I was outside of like extracurriculars and grades and classes,” said Glaser.
Dylan Herlihy ’22 centered his remarks around the dynamics between balancing his love for gymnastics with his life at Andover. He took the opportunity of his reflection to share his own, more personal experience at the school. According to Herlihy, at the end of his speech, he improvised a little, making it a powerful moment for him.
“I think all of the moments from delivering that speech—they kind of blurred together. I think when I got to my thesis about what success means to me and how my mental development of that has transpired over the years. I think that was a big moment for me. But I think just getting there at the end, I ended with, ‘to Andover, thank you, to gymnastics, thank you.’ I gave it my all, and I hadn’t actually written that down in my speech, but I just thought that was [the perfect way] to end it off,” said Herlihy.
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