Senior Voices-Lessons Learned from the Class of 2023
17 May, 2023
While the Class of 2023 has finished walking the halls of the Academy, the legacy they have left will continue long after they are gone, thanks in part to an SAA tradition: Senior Voices. The Senior Voices program began in 2007 and since that time the members of each graduating class have shared reflections and words of wisdom with their classmates and underclassmen.
At Upper School assemblies throughout the year, several seniors used their experiences to motivate and inspire other students. The Class of 2023 reflections were heartfelt, honest, and empowering. Some speeches addressed the power of gratitude, the importance of spending time with your parents, and keeping a positive mindset, but the overarching theme for this year’s Senior Voices can be summarized by this: Be yourself. Love yourself. Challenge yourself.
Here is a small sampling of the advice imparted by the Class of 2023, with excerpts from some of the many Senior Voices that were presented.
Self acceptance. Learning to accept me for who I am has really changed my life. It is a crucial step in becoming the happiest version of you. The ultimate goal of life is to be content and to love like Jesus did, and it’s hard to share that contentment and love with other people without accepting and loving yourself first. So, accept who you are, and your flaws. Self acceptance is like armor, it protects you from the negativity coming at you. To paraphrase the serenity prayer - Accept the things you can’t change. Develop the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. -Ava Wendt
I don't remember who said it, but someone said that comparison is the thief of joy, so cut that out. Fitting in is overrated, and you're too cool to change yourself for that. Be yourself. Don't change your playlist just cause you're giving someone a ride home and you don't want them to judge your music taste. Wear the clothes you want to wear, not what everyone else wears. Unless of course what everyone else wears is your style, in which case go for it. Sometimes stuff is mainstream because it's cool. That's not basic- it's popular for a reason. So wear what you want and listen to your music. -Addie Brady
When I found the courage to be myself, I also found that being myself gave me this freeing feeling. At the end of my junior year, I made a pact with me: I would be me. And, so far I believe it has worked. I know this goal is ambitious, and I am up for the challenge. - Jenifer Cuyler
Challenging ourselves can look different for each one of us. Whether it’s taking that extra hard class, or going to that dance, or joining that club. Challenge yourself and push the boundaries of what is holding you back. By expanding your limits, you'll find new opportunities and goals to strive for and, just maybe, you’ll surprise yourself and do something extraordinary. -Grace Kamler
The number one thing I always say when asked what my advice is to people going into high school, or even in high school, is to get involved. Take advantage of the rest of your time in high school. Get involved in clubs, sports, the arts! Don’t be afraid to try something new–even if none of your friends are doing it. You never know who you will become friends with because of this. -Ava Whidden
I learned four valuable lessons during my four years of high school:
-successes don’t define who you are
-grades don’t define who you are
-The failures? They don’t define you either.
-And most importantly, you cannot find your self-worth through other people.
There have been four key things that have really helped me make the most of my beautiful 1,355 days here.
- Learn to say no.
- Do things that push you out of your comfort zone.
- Spend time with your family.
- Finally, do things that are good for you.
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