Power of Hardship

Power of Hardship

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Injuries give you perspective. They teach you to cherish the moments that I might have taken for granted before. -Ali Krieger

People have hobbies but when they are taken away, that’s when someone truly learns who they are. I like to think of myself as a well rounded person, but I have always loved sports. I have had many injuries which have taken sports away for short periods of time and it has been hard for me to find other things, but most of these setbacks haven’t been serious. Each time I’ve been able to focus on school and other things more than usual. At the beginning of my summer after fourth grade I started feeling a little bit of back pain. At first I thought nothing of it, it took until October for me to realize it’s severity. I would come home crying because I couldn’t walk with a searing pain in my lower back. I got an MRI and prepared for the worst. I can still remember the devastation I felt when the doctor told me that I had a double stress fracture in my lowest vertebrae. I still remember not being able to wear the back brace for more than fifteen minutes because I couldn’t breath, they wanted me to wear it for four months, no sports for size weeks was like an eternity for me as an energetic fifth grader. I began to find new hobbies, I discovered how much I loved listening to music and would sing on the couch for hours. I discovered a new passion for writing and it soon became my favorite subject in school. The whole injury was a disaster but I ended up learning a lot about myself which has made me a better and more well rounded person today. Without that injury I wouldn’t be as happy in school, it was definitely not a positive experience but I’m glad I was able to come out of it with some positive takeaways. 

 

 


Power of Place

A Home Away From Home

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There's the right way, the wrong way, and there's the Keewaydin way- someone who went to Keewaydin 

Many People love things that others can’t understand. I spend my summers paddling across massive likes and doing hard work, and I love it. It's more than just paddling and working though, it’s way of life away from civilization and technology. Everything I eat, everywhere I sleep and every where I go is completely determined by my own work. I make my own food, pitch my own tent and steer my own boat. It’s all man powered. This year we paddled around the serene Canadian lakes for 40 days until the day for paddle-in finally came. Paddle-in is a day where every section that has been out on trips the whole summer comes back to the base camp where all of the cabins and platform tents are. It’s a highlight of the summer for everyone, all the campers paddle with fresh clean clothes and many parents are waiting at the dock. For many this is the first time they have seen their parents in almost six weeks. The feeling of accomplishment on this day is incredible.  After almost all of the sections paddle in, there is just one left, Section A, a group of seventeen and eighteen year olds who canoe all the way to Hudson Bay, a trip that matches the distance between New Orleans and New York, all in a canoe. As they paddled across the clear lake everyone was dead silent, when they pulled up the silence stayed, when they had unloaded all of their food and clothes from the canvas canoe the crowd of nearly three-hundred erupts and passionate hugs and tears ensued. It was truly an incredible moment. Keewaydin is second home for me, a hiatus from civilization, full of satisfaction and hard work. Some may frown upon it, but for me there is no place I would rather spend my summers


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My Passion

The Power of Passion

 

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“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.”-Yo-Yo Ma

 

All my life I have always loved playing sports and being competitive. However, it’s understanding and analyzing that is my passion. Ever since I was little, things like playing fantasy football and predicting winners of games was always one of my strong suits. I always love creating little activities for myself that involve sports analytics. I am always the first to see and read the latest Espn article or the latest Sports Illustrated issue. Ever since I won thirty-five dollars in a March Madness bracket back in sixth grade I have always loved thinking about and analyzing sports. The feeling I got from proving my opinion to be correct was one that I wanted to last. From then on I knew I had found my passion. I could sit on the couch for hours writing my own sports articles or making my own sports rankings, I find it so entertaining and interesting, for me, there is never a dull moment in sports. I love watching sports talk shows and contemplating bold statements I see on social media deciding whether I agree or whether to comment in outrage, the decision usually doesn’t take very long. I almost smashed my phone the other day after seeing a post ranking the Red Sox as the 4th best team in the league the day after they had won the World Series. The power of my passion helps me be able to visualize a future for myself where I work in a job that I enjoy because living my passion everyday is my idea of a happy life. 


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The Power of Family

Family First 

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I try to live my life like my father lives his. He always takes care of everyone else first. He won't even start eating until he's sure everyone else in the family has started eating. Another thing: My dad never judges me by whether I win or lose-Ben Roethlisberger       

Families are here to be a loving community that will always accept each other. Everyone in my family has always loved being around each other but we are good at recognizing when we need a break from each other. When I go to summer camp it is my break, I basically have a second family there. I am there for seven weeks and when I see my family at the airport none of our eyes stay dry. This year I got back on August twelfth. I had grown an inch and half in the forty-five days I hade been gone and I was way stronger than before. I had a summer camp sweatshirt and dark green baseball hat on. I didn’t expect to seem them standing right outside of the gate. I love Camp but during the last few days I feel like a caged animal because I want to see my family so badly. When I finally saw there faces I was so relieved, my sister and my Mom were crying and my dad was on the verge of tears. My brother was showing as much affection as he could which isn’t that much but I could tell he was happy to see. That was a truly special and happy moment. If I am not accepted or loved by anyone else, I thought to myself, these people will always be here for me. Family is always first, and it always comforts me to know that I will always have a place to go where I will be loved and these smiling faces will always be at least a phone call away. I can mess up over and over again, but my family will always be the ones to forgive, forget and support.

 


The Call of the Wild Essay

Oscar Patton
Freshman English
The Call of the Wild

The Necessities of Survival

A Demand for Respect

That day they made forty miles, the trail being packed; but the next day, and for many days to follow, they broke their own trail, worked harder, and made poorer time. [Chapter 2, the Call of the Wild, Jack London]

  COW

 

  

Like a blur going rapidly across the snowy trail in the white-coated backwoods of Canada, the group is led by a determined, stocky St. Bernard: a great leader and a loyal companion who turns heads and stands out from the rest of the pack as he glides almost effortlessly, pulling twice his weight in the traces. They call him Buck, a dog who demands respects and is not quick to give it. He will do whatever it takes to survive and nothing will obstruct his journey to success and leaderships. In the novel, The Call of the Wild, Buck learns how to earn the respect of others in order to protect himself, and how to do whatever it takes to survive. 

Respect needs to be earned. Buckearns the respect of the other dogs in his team through a combination of intimidation and motivation. When he defeats his enemy Spitz, after a long and grueling battle to the death, the other dogs see him as the new leader and would never disobey him. After all, he had killed the dog they feared most. Even the men respected him. They had never seen anything like Buck, so determined and full of heart. In chapter 4, after Buck had become the lead dog and fronted the team ripping through the woods at a record-setting pace, Perrault and Francois noticed the surge of speed:

"Nevaire such a dog as dat Buck!" he cried. "No, nevaire! Heem worth one t'ousan' dollair, by Gar! Eh? Wot you say, Perrault? And Perrault nodded. He was ahead of the record then, and gaining day by day. The trail was in excellent condition, well packed and hard, and there was no new-fallen snow with which to contend. [The Call of the Wild, Chapter 4]

Buck was truly an impressive dog. Francois and Perrault had never seen anything like him. He could pull ten times his weight and motivate others to follow his example of hard work at the same time. He wasn’t going to let anything knock him off his path. Buck was an absolutely exceptional dog, with an ability to earn the respect of his teammates by acts of motivation and even acts of mischief. 

Rules are in place for a reason and they are helpful; however, when survival is on the line, instincts kick in and rules get kicked out. Luckily for Buck, he learns this lesson early, an extra piece of stolen meat here and there could have been what kept him alive. Survival instincts are exactly what they sound like and they keep Buck alive in The Call of the Wild. Some of the dogs who didn’t figure this out as early as Buck paid with their lives in the face of a dozen ravenous, bloodthirsty huskies. At first, even Buck is quiet and reserved and he pays by losing his food, eating too slowly, and often going to sleep famished. One day he noticed a particularly mischievous dog named Pike, snag a piece of meat while Perrault and Francois had their backs turned. That’s when Buck realized he needed to take risks to help himself even at the expense of others:

When he saw Pike, one of the new dogs, a clever malingerer and thief, slyly steal a slice of bacon when Perrault's back was turned, he duplicated the performance the following day, getting away with the whole chunk... This first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the hostile Northland environment. It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death. It marked, further, the decay or going to pieces of his moral nature, a vain thing and a handicap in the ruthless struggle for existence. [Chapter 2, The Call of the Wild, Jack London]

Buck gets away with a whole slab of extra food, but he also earns the respect of the others. He shows that nobody should mess with him because he does what it takes to survive. It marked his ability to adapt and hold his own, the two most important rules of survival. One thing leads to another in survival. The ability to adapt and survive leads to respect, respect leads to leadership and success, which leads to happiness. 

There is a lot of cruelty in Buck's world, and it’s the ability to find joy within it is truly hard to master. The Call of the Wild is a tough read, but the lessons I learned from this book could not have been delivered more perfectly by Jack London. This book should be read by all boys my age. London's incredible ability to paint a picture in a reader's head made me feel like I was watching Buck make his owner's jaws drop as he pulled a despicable weight on his back. I felt like I was there, watching him learn what it takes to survive while grabbing that big slab of meat. At the beginning I had trouble, as the language was unorthodox compared to easier books I am used to reading. Once I decided to start listening to the audio while I read, it all became easier. Not only did begin to more deeply understand the literature, but I could finish the assignments much quicker because I can be a slow reader, and I am definitely glad I found this solution. Writing the essay for this book was actually much easier than reading it. There are so many clear and profound themes to chose from. I felt as though I was adapting to a new type of book just as Buck was adapting to his new environment. This classic was worth reading. It taught me not to get intimidated by a book because every book can get better even if it takes a few chapters. I should never give up on a book. 

This novel tells the story of a dog who demands respect and will do anything for survival; now he is right where he belongs—deep in the dark, snowy Canadian woods trotting around with his four-legged brothers. I may have been challenged by this detailed classic, but the lessons I learned were priceless. 


Call of the Wild Reflection

 

Answering the Call

 

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“He had killed man, the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the face of the law of club and fang.”
Jack London, The Call of the Wild

 

House dogs may seem civilized but in the 1850’s the call for gold helped the Huskies of California answer the call of wild. An incredibly determined dog named Buck in John London's novella Call of the Wild shows a perfect example of leadership and how every creature has survival instincts that will flourish when put in the right setting. Although it’s horrible what happened to the dogs during the gold rush, dogs like Buck learned who they really were, met incredible people along the way and pushed their limits to inconceivable lengths. Buck belonged in the wild with the wolves and his story along the way was moving. London creates beautiful pictures of the snowy scenery in the woods of Canada, and tells a perfect story of Buck's journey from being Judge Miller's house dog in Santa Clara to leading a Wolfpack through the woods and howling at the moon. 

In this classic, it tells the story of a dog named Buck who is smuggled away to be a sled dog. He is feisty at first, and fights against his early tormentors, however, he learns his first lesson in the law of club in fang with a man he remembers as the man in the red sweater. 

“He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his after life he never forgot it. That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway." 

After this incident, he becomes more quiet and reserved until he meats Spitz, the leader of his team. They become enemies after Spitz brutally murders Curly, a cheerful dog that Buck had recently befriended. They begin to have fights here and there until one day there was no one there to freak them up and they fought to the death. It is a riveting scene created by admiringly descriptive writing by Jack London. My favorite scene of the book personally. Buck wins the long fight and Spitz is eaten alive by the rest of the team and later Buck becomes the leader. He becomes a very admirable lead dog on a team led by two men he respected which he soon realized is a blessing when he goes on a trip with three inexperience and inconsiderate idiots who end up killing almost the entire team. That’s when he meets John Thornton.

“John Thornton stood over Buck, struggling to control himself, too convulsed with rage to speak."If you strike that dog again, I'll kill you," he at last managed to say in a choking voice"

John Thornton was a dog lover and he couldn’t just sit by and watch a great dog like Buck get beaten so he stepped in. The two became best friends and Buck's love for John became so intense that it was the main subject of basically a whole chapter. Buck had been living in the wilderness for a long time and he yearned to fulfill his "call of the wild". When the story concludes he goes off with a wolf pack where he feels he truly belongs. 

“When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering Borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.” 

This last line perfectly shows how happy Buck was and how he truly fulfilled his purpose.

Buck is an animal. Animals, even if they don’t know it yet, want live in the wilderness. That’s where they can be happy and free. This story flawlessly describes Buck’s transformation into a "real" dog. Dogs are meant to live in the wilderness and as soon they get a taste of what it’s like, that’s where they want to be forever. Trotting around in the snowy woods like wolves, hunting for there own food and howling at the moon. 

 

 

 

 

 


My Summer..

Different Ends of the World

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 “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

It was the last day of summer, a sad day for me. I was sitting on a train on my way home from New York, visiting my grandmother. I was enjoying listening to all the new music that had come out while I was gone at camp while wolfing Dow three Krispy Kreme donuts form Penn Station. The summer was over, which was stressful, however, thinking back on it I realized what an incredible experience I had had. I had grown, matured and learned so much, and I could not have felt better prepared to work hard and tackle the year ahead will full force. I saw the beauty of nature swimming deep in the water on the Adriatic sea by the coast of Dubrovnik, I flew over a hundred meters in the air over baby blue rushing rivers, and best of all, I made friendships that will last a lifetime in the cool, clear lakes of Northern Ontario.

The wind was blowing through my hair as I cruised along across the deep blue Adriatic. I breathed in the salty breeze and ran my hand through the chilled still water. I was riding a small sailboat with my family in Dubrovnik, chatting excitedly. We all had drinks and sunscreen, pale New Englanders. About an hour into the ride the captain with his thick Slavic accent said, "vee stop the blue cave now."

We pulled up to a cove, an inlet with the water reflecting the bright blue sky like an endless mirror. There were a cliff jumping spot and a small cave that we could swim to. I put on goggles and hopped into the warm ocean. As soon as I looked down, my breath was literally taken I away. I had to come up for air again. The water was twenty meters deep and clear as glass, there were fish everywhere, thousands of them. The ocean floor was covered in rolling sea urchins with there purple spikes pointing in every direction. I swam excitedly into the cave, I had to swim with my head low so I wouldn’t hit my head on the sharp rock, then, all of sudden everything opened up and I was in a pitch black cave. I looked down into the water and saw the streaks of light sneaking in from the outside world. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was a true natural phenomenon. As I looked down at the deep ocean floor, I realized how lucky I was. I realized that I am lucky to get the opportunities that I do and I should use them to drive myself to work harder because not many bother are as lucky as I am. It would be a shame didn’t prove that deserve the life I’m given. This year I need to focus on not wasting the opportunities that I have given; I plan on working harder than ever this year get the results that I should in return for what I’ve been given. 

 I never get scared by roller coasters, I don’t have a fear of heights and I love scary movies. So I went into the zip lining activity thinking it would be some sort of fun touristy activity to fill in a gap of time we had during the trip. Then we started the climb up the mountain with our cheerful guides who spoke perfect English leading the way. After a minute I assumed the zip line would be just ahead, but after five minutes of steep climbing, I started to get a little concerned. A few more minutes went by before I reached the top. I saw a clearing up ahead and the guide stopped the group just before so we couldn’t see down just yet. Everyone was breathing hard and I tried to pretend like I wasn’t tired, and like I was unfazed by the whole experience until the guide said, "The zip line is 150 meters in the air and it is 750 meters long, you most likely reach a top speed of 60-70 miles per hour." Well, that was news to me and there was no turning back so again, trying to be a tough guy and determined to turn everything into a competition I impulsively blurted "I’ll go first." 

He led me to the clearing and I looked out the view was breathtaking. The green trees spotted the rough exterior of the mountains, and the blue rivers and creeks winded in and out of sight down in the valley. With a small hesitation, I nervously stepped and clipped on the carabiner connected to my harness. There was no time to think I just pushed off and was on my way. I have never been so terrified in my life. The view was like nothing I could have ever dreamed, it was truly incredible. I was on the same level as the birds gliding with ease across the horizon. However, it was nearly impossible to enjoy because I couldn’t breathe I was so scared. There are not many physical ideas or experiences that can make me really nervous, but that was out of my comfort zone and I was so relieved when I glided on to the end platform. I was alive and safe. I had just flown through the most beautiful and horrifying kilometer of my life and I loved every second of it. The feeling of my legs shaking after a ride from the adrenaline pumping through my veins is what I seek out thrill for, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of terror will be. 

Spending six weeks in the wilderness on the water sleeping on the ground and doing the hardest physical work imaginable at a 125-year-old camp called Keewaydin tends to build pretty strong relationships. I miss that special place somewhere in Ontario that I could never point out on a map every day. Through hardships and special moments buy the fire eating gross canned food entertaining ourselves with the most ridiculous debates and conversation imaginable, we were always there for each other. We all saw each other cry from joy, exhaustion, and sadness. We made each other laugh so hard we choked oand grasped for air. We really went through it all. 

I can’t think of a better way to spend my summer than sticking five boys and a couple 20-year-olds in the wilderness traveling in canoes just for the sake of adventure. The freedom of being to say whatever it is that crosses your mind is an incredible feeling. The unrepeatable things that were said on the cool, clear lakes of Ontario should be illegal but they are hilarious. Keewaydin is always on my mind and it is truly special to me. I cherish every moment I spend in that cedar canvas canoe, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences shared with the brothers I have there for anything in the world. 

This summer was full of memorable experiences, growth and new understandings, but all good things have to come to an end, all I can do is keep walking forward. 

 


Leaders

Leaders

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"Genius is patience"- Isaac Newton

 

It was the second day of of our senior class retreat to the middle-of-no-where New Hampshire, a dreaded trip by many. However many of us had an unexpectedly great experience. The over excited tone of some counselors, although annoying, did feel like they really cared about us. Some were over traditional and came off as sort of obnoxious and unnecessarily strict, others however were much more relaxed, understanding and caring. What I took away from the trip were three main qualities which are essential social success; the ability to listen, have patience, and to build on old and start new relationships. 

 

The ability to be a good listener is the most underrated quality in a truly great leader. Of course a leader needs to be strong and powerful with their own words but also they must be able to listen and take on others suggestions. The importance of listening really came into play during the cardboard boat making contest. After lunch on the second day each cabin began their attempts to complete the task of creating the best floating cardboard boat for a student to paddle in a race the next morning, there was only one hour to complete the vessels. Immediately there were a few kids who stepped up to be leaders in their own groups. They immediately started shooting out their ideas and began working. In every group there was one or two kids who just wasn’t doing anything and were just messing around, which leaves the five or six kids in the middle who were working and had ideas but just weren’t as loud with their own ideas. However as soon as the "leader" of the group had gotten all of their ideas out, those kids in the middle started making some suggestions that actually proved to save some serious flaws in the boats. In one group Rain and I made the suggestion to build walls up on the sides of the boat, which was some what ignored. The next day during the race it was the only boat without walls and ended up working worse than the other two cabin's boats. This proves how important it is to listen, because not only is frustrating to not have your voice head, but also lots of people have lots of great ideas that don’t get heard and things can be greatly improved if people just take on the easy task of listening to others.

 

The afternoon of the first day at Belknap. It was the finals of the dodgeball tournament on a cloudy, but humid afternoon. There was so much tension in the air I could practically smell it. 

"Ready, set, GO!" Shouted out Mack the counselor supervising the competition. 

My team waited patiently as we allowed the other team to grab all the balls, running up to the center line was like suicide and we were all comfortable sitting back and waiting to catch one of the balls thrown. My team waited patiently back at the base line of the tennis court, some of us dripping sweat with determined glares at our opponents. Then all the balls came flying at us at once, one was caught and the rest whizzed by and were dodged with ease. The game went one as a game of patience, an out here an out here, until finally I got hit and jogged over to the sideline disappointed. However the game wasn’t over for me, my team quickly caught a few lazily thrown lobs from the opposing team and I was revived. It was a three on two in favor of my team, I immediately palmed a ball and whipped it at one of my unsuspecting opponents nailing him right in the knee. There was one left, but that didn’t mean that I was just going to attack right away, the game was all about patience. The worst thing that could have happened would be to throw a lazy ball and have it caught, reviving another teammate of the soul survivor on the enemy team making it two on two and completely shifting the momentum. So along with my teammates I rolled my ball to the opponents side of the concrete court and simply kneeled down as close as I could to the center line to prevent the opponent from throwing a low ball which is the hardest one to catch. After about a minute the desperate last man standing came up to me and a fired a ball as hard as he could at me from point blank range, right into my squeezing arms. I can not say it was not a lucky catch but my patience had payed of as it always does. Patience is truly one of the keys to success and impatience will almost never lead to a positive outcome.

 

The grass fields, the homemade can jams, green and white buildings and log cabins, and best of all, the pulled pork. Camp Belknap was a special place for everyone, it was place that really encouraged new relationships. I may have gone into this year thinking I knew who I did and did not like, but came out of the incredible Belknap experience with a forgive and forget attitude. I learned that the ninth grade year is a special because of the size of the grade, I needed to be friends and positive towards everyone. In fact that was the main theme of everything I said at all of the grade meetings, even leading up to the final night when everyone shared a goal they had for the year, mine was "to form positive relationships with everyone in the grade no matter what bad history I’ve had in years passed" and I really think that this will be the key to having a great, fun and socially successful year. This doesn’t necessarily mean I want to ditch all my old friends and make new ones, I still think this is the year where I can form relationships with the kids In my class that may last a lifetime. The Belknap trip could not have been a better kickstart to what will be a truly memorable experience. I want to build on and have more connected relationships with the kids in my class like never before. This is the year to turn friends into brothers because that is what the senior class is all about, and that is why Fenn is such a special place. 


A Slice of Fenn Life

 

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"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion." - Alexander the Great

 

 

 

There are so many great things about being a Fenn student. However the one that is most appropriate to write about at the moment is the leadership roles and opportunities that are naturally given to members of the senior class. 

 

I remember being in fourth grade and thinking of the ninth graders as basically adults, I thought the ninth graders were the coolest kids I had ever seen. The way they all sat on the same level as teachers made the other kids literally look up to them as the leaders of the student body. Now that I’m a senior, although I am just getting started, in some ways it just feels like another year at Fenn, but as the oldest. It is so hard to think of the lower schoolers looking up at kids like me and my friends the same we I did five years ago. 

 

On the other hand I do feel like this year is a special one, I’ve always looked in wonder at the interesting things that the ninth graders had the privilege to do. I’ve wanted to sit in a senior seat, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it, but I always look forward to all school meeting. I’ve always wondered about what penn to paper, and what being a ninth grade varsity athlete would feel like. This year, everything feels different, not only because I am in the top grade and have all the new privileges that come with that, but because a lot of things are different. There is a new building, new head master, new head of division, and all of my teachers are teachers that I haven’t had before, which has not happened since fourth grade. All these new things about ninth grade make it so much more exciting and enjoyable to come to school each day. It’s like every day I discover a new privilege or opportunity that I have completely forgotten was available as a senior. And I feel a great sense of responsibility to use these opportunities the way that all the senior classes before mine have so well and responsibly.

 

This is the slice of Fenn life that I chose. The ninth grade year is like the icing on the cake for me after such an incredible six year experience. I very much look forward to seeing what this slice of Fenn life has in store for me and my classmates over the coarse of this incredible year, and I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to be senior at Fenn because it is such a special place and it’s the perfect time in my life to learn how to be a true lay great leader.