Tradition &

Quarter 2: Senior Speech Recaps

Every Friday the Waldorf School of Garden City High School gathers in the student room for the weekly Student Assembly that consists of an extended speech by a senior on a topic of particular interest to them. The Senior Speeches as are a rite of passage for Waldorf students and are a required part of the high school curriculum. See below to read recaps of all the speeches given in the second quarter of the High School Year!

Claire Hou – 11/9

Claire opened up the 2nd semester of speeches with a heartfelt letter to her second home; New York. She moved to NY in 2012 and recalled how, prior to arriving, it was more of a concept than a place–a far off land of opportunity for everyone. After arriving she remembered the early days when they had absolutely no furniture and how she did not adore her new home like she thought she might. However, the city grew on her over time as she began to appreciate the food, art, and culture. Slowly but surely, New York became a part of her. In closing she emphasized that, no matter where life takes her, she will always carry a piece of the big apple in her heart.

Noah Negri – 11/9

“Before music, exists a beat, and in that beat, is a story.” Noah began his speech meditating on the importance of a constant beat to music. This idea segued into the main topic of his speech, the popular German music genre of krautrock, a form he stressed that has heavily influenced modern music. He began with a brief history of the style, from its roots in a post WWII Germany that was desperately looking for its own cultural identity, and striving to create something uniquely German. Noah then described what makes krautrock unique, in particular the powerful and constant beat combined with heavy use of synthesizer. Noah also played clips comparing classic krautrock number to modern hip hop and electronic pieces to indicate the clear inspiration drawn from krautrock in modern music. Noah even considers krautrock the foundation of modern pop music. He closed out his speech with a live performance of a krautrock piece with the assistance of Ethan Krahn, and Anthony Deus.

Justin Priester – 11/16

For as far as he could remember, being part of a team has been a foundational element of Justin’s life. From little league to soccer, and football, there was never a better experience for him than being surrounded by friends playing a sport he loved. Especially during his time playing football, his team was like a second home. For a time, football was practically his life. They practiced as a team, trained as a team, and won as a team. However, at times he felt like the emphasis on winning made it more difficult to connect with his teammates. As evidence, he pointed out that some current classmates now had been on his team, and he had not been aware of it at the time. When he came to Waldorf, he joined the soccer team, and in his first three years, their team was quite successful, even making it to the finals in his junior year. Although his senior year brought challenges along with a losing record, he worked hard to maintain a positive attitude for the team, and together they overcame the negativity and managed to end the season maintaining their strong bonds. Justin concluded by thanking everyone who helped them through the difficult times, and reflected on how losing taught him a greater lesson in teamwork than winning ever could.

Maddie Minsky 11/16

Maddie’s speech was a personal story of her High School experience. She opened by saying that while for some people, HS is the best time of their lives, to her that was often not true. In her previous school she faced many challenges that greatly affected her. She struggled with these challenges for three years before deciding she needed a change of scenery. After some searching, her family discovered Waldorf, a school where she already had some friends attending. After enrolling at the start of her senior year, Maddie was excited to start a year with a clean slate. Fortunately for her, the new start she experienced was wonderful, and she remains grateful for having decided to attend school here. She closed by telling the audience that no matter how hard things may seem, there is always an opportunity for a fresh start in a new environment.

Ella Siff- Scherr – 11/19

Ella began her speech musing on the importance of life-altering experiences vs. everyday occurrences in a person’s development, concluding that both are essential. To her, the most important element of her life has been consistency. As the daughter of a Rabbi, she has always felt like there have been high expectations of her. She describes that her life has been rather interesting being the daughter of a female rabbi, as it has led others to regularly question her believes. What got her through these challenges was the constant support of her community. Knowing that her community is behind her, has made Ella both a more proud and confident person. It has taught her to be more empathetic to others, and made her a better person overall.

Drew Brodsky – 12/7

Drew’s speech was about a fact of her life that had greatly impacted her through the years, being a Brodsky. While family is an important part of anyone’s life, to Drew, family is the most important thing. This is because, for her whole life, Drew’s paternal family has lived in the same town. That means that she has never really known a time that was not full of memories with her 9 cousins, 3 aunts, 3 uncles, and 2 grandparents. This experience has taught her many things, one of the most important being patience. As the oldest of all the cousins, she had to get accustomed to a lack of privacy. In her experience, any new people in her life require family approval, in many cases from the whole family. Being the oldest also taught Drew how to be a role model. Her membership in a large family has also given Drew a sense of security and support, since her family always has her back. She concluded her speech by saying that she has no doubt that her family will always be close, and always support one another.

Alessandra “Ali” Fraim 1/11

Ali’s speech was about a place that is very near and dear to her heart, Camp Arcadia. Ali has been going to camp there (in Maine) for 10 years. Ali shared with the audience a number of fun stories (and mishaps) of her time at camp. This included becoming a Junior Main Guide on her second try, which required her to spend 5 days in the Maine wilderness. Ali described it as a very challenging but rewarding experience. She also shared stories of paddling along the Alagash River, hiking the Appalachian Trail, and other memorable moments from camp. She also shared a number of photos and videos for the audience to see. She closed her speech by reiterating that the camp was like a second home to her and had taught her how to be resilient in the face of challenges.

Yunxi “Franky” Jia 1/11

Franky dedicated his speech to his greatest passion, cars. He explained how he first fell in love with the artistic form of cars. He loved the look and feel of cars to such an extent that he would collect toy cars. To him, a car was the “quintessence of human intelligence” and more than just a tool. Later he developed a love of racing and competition, which he got to experience through go-karting with friends. He loved the idea of driving so much that he was overjoyed when he got his permit and eventually his license. To him driving was something incredibly satisfying, and he could feel accomplished from as little as a 10 minute drive. After he had an accident in 2018, and witnessing the love and concern of the Waldorf community, he also developed an appreciation for safety and responsibility in regards to car ownership. He concluded his speech with a video he made highlighting the aesthesis of cars, including some fun footage of him driving a luxury car shot by a drone.

Waliya Ahmed 1/18

Waliya’s Speech was about her passion for business. In her own words, this was a passion that developed over time. It started with a group bridge building project where she functioned as the group’s accountant. This later developed into a general love of managing innovative progress. This came to fruition when she learned about the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) which allowed her to come up with her own business project for the competition. Here she came up with an app that aided shoppers in purchasing clothing by making in store recommendations based on their interests. After the Tournament, she took a special summer 2017 course in the Principles of Micro-Economics from Harvard. She continues to cultivate her passion through the School’s Intro to business course with Ms. Braun, and is excited to see where her passion takes her. She finished her speech, imploring the audience to follow their dreams in life, and to do what they are passionate about.

Jason Desrosiers 1/18

According to George Bernard Shaw, “Imagination, is the beginning of creation” said Jason. He went on to explain that in his family, 4 of his 7 siblings had chosen to go into creative fields and how he had similarly looked for his own creative outlet. At first it was sketching, leading him to think he wanted to become an animator. However, after learning Photoshop and photography, he discovered his true passion, videography and editing. This was a skill that he taught himself slowly over time, but video production quickly became a passion. He found he could pour hours into video projects, sometimes even forgetting to sleep, and never getting tired or bored. While the work was harder than he had originally anticipated, it was always satisfying. Jason then gave some examples of challenges he faced during the production of some video projects, including a number of humorous anecdotes, before closing with a compilation of some of the videos he had made over the last few years.

Harry Seremetis 1/25

Harry opened by explaining how he had always been looking for a purpose in life, a path to follow. At first he bounced from different ideas like architecture and writing, but none of those fields seemed to stick with him. He learned for a sense of creative freedom and expression. After many years, he finally discovered the field which he was passionate about, fashion design. He learned that he loved drawing sketches of new and innovative clothing ideas. One summer on a camping trip, he filled a sketchbook with a number of new clothing ideas. Unfortunately for him, the notebook was lost during the trip, but, not discouraged, as soon as he got home he immediately began redrawing the ideas and refining them. Harry then showed the audience a number of his original designs. He explained how to him, innovation is the key to fashion design. Harry is always looking to learn about the field, and for junior career day, he spent the day observing the production of clothing. He has also taken a course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where he had the opportunity to design a small line. While he is not always sure where life will take him, Harry is sure that fashion has remained his passion, and he looks forward to see what comes next.