Suffield High School graduates think outside the box
By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Suffield - posted Thu., Jun. 27, 2013
For many class officers, the easiest way to plan prom or the senior outing is to look back on previous years, call the venues, set the date, and spread the word. Suffield High School's Class of 2013 decided to think outside the box, as they always have, according to senior class adviser Janice Potter.
This year, the “dream of a team,” as Potter called them, wanted to be different than previous years, so they planned prom at a venue a little further away – the Marriott Hotel in Springfield. In past years, the prom has been at Chez Josef in Agawam, Mass., or La Renaissance in East Windsor. The theme of this year's prom was “A Night Under the Stars,” which is exactly what students experienced as they walked out onto the deck attached to the banquet room.
Senior class president Katelyn Madison said Principal Donna Hayward described the prom as possibly the best prom she has attended as an administrator. Madison and class vice president Alyssa Puia also said many chaperones and students commented on the “awesome” decorations and venue, which made them feel respected and accomplished. Madison noted there was not only record attendance, but there were just as many students in attendance when prom ended at 11 p.m., as there were when prom began at 6 p.m., which does not typically happen. “Most people start to leave around 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. usually,” said Madison.
The senior outing at Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland, Conn., was also another success for the class officers who organized the trip and the 130 students who attended. The adventure park offered rock-climbing, zip-lining, hiking, cliff-jumping, and a variety of water sports such as wake-boarding, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and scuba-diving. Madison believed it was the largest turnout for a senior outing, and other classes are now looking into the trip also, she heard. Typically the senior outing is held at High Meadows in North Granby, which does not usually produce a large turn out, according to Madison. Puia said, “It came with its own challenges and its own new workload, but I think it was beneficial for our class, because we had all been to High Meadow previously during our eighth grade trip.”
Another event the senior class participated in was spirit night, which students begin preparing for in June, according to Potter. Each class gets together to plan a skit, which involves everyone, from designing the set and costumes to putting on the performance. This year the seniors had an Egyptian theme and the skit was about a lost society in Egypt that archeologists discovered, according to Puia. After each skit was performed, there was a range of activities including different races and games in which students competed against one another for points. At the end of the night all the points were added up and a winner was determined. As usual, the senior class was awarded the winner.
For Potter, this year was especially exciting, because she had the opportunity to “graduate” with the senior class. The five-time class adviser will also begin a new chapter in her life, as she is entering retirement after 35 years of teaching. “What's fun about advising is you get to know kids in such a different light than teaching them in the classroom,” said Potter, who took over the class two years ago. She pointed out that each class has a personality and this class, she noticed, had a lot of enthusiasm, determination and school spirit.
Puia also described the seniors as having a lot of class spirit. The orientation at the University of Rhode Island made this clear to her as she talked to students from different high schools. The other students said they rarely did anything as a class, which was not the case for Puia who was part of a “very close” group of students.
In fact, Puia will miss her classmates she has grown up with, as well as those she has met in high school through the Open Choice program. The program, organized by the Connecticut's State Department of Education, allows students from Hartford to attend public schools in surrounding towns and students from the suburbs to attend public schools in Hartford at no cost to the families.
The diversity Open Choice brought to the high school was one of Madison's favorite aspects of her class. She said students came from about 10 surrounding towns and cities through the program, including Hartford, Windsor Locks and Enfield. “We all get together for things like yearbook, day trips and prom,” said Madison. “It seems like we all don't come from different places, we are all in one area, and we are all joined by the senior class, and I love that.”
Madison plans to attend Florida State University to study business management and entrepreneurship. She hopes to have the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica or another Latin American country during her college career. Madison said she “fell in love” with the area after visiting on vacation and school trips. Her plan is to own a business in Latin America one day.