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the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

Former Falcons return for the annual Alumni Panel

Eleven alumni visited the US to answer students questions about college life, Saint Stephen’s, and more.
The+alumni+share+their+college+anecdotes+and+advice.+
Finn Kemp
The alumni share their college anecdotes and advice.

This Thursday, Jan. 11, Saint Stephen’s students gathered in the Upper School Commons for the Annual Alumni Panel. Coordinated by Alumni Director Laurie Mcfeeley, the alumni panel event is an opportunity for former Falcons to return to campus to share their college experiences and offer advice to our current Falcons. 

In the style of Q&A, hosted by Upper School Director Andrew Forrester, the alums talked about their lives outside the nest, and how they were able to fly to new heights thanks to their time at SSES.

Former Falcon Noelle Bencie participated on the panel. Bencie is a student at the University of Michigan, and heavily anticipated sharing the advice she wished she would have known in high school. 

“I used to think that getting A’s were the only way I could be proud of myself,” Bencie said, “and once you get to college, you’ll realize that is the worst value you can have for yourself because it is extremely difficult, college is hard.” 

Bencie shared, “Do not let yourself believe you’re only the grades you get.”

Mrs. Laurie Mcfeeley organizes this event every year with the hope that the advice shared by alums such as Bencie would ease student worries surrounding departing for college. 

“I just hope that students are a little less intimidated about what college life is really like,” Mcfeeley said. 

It’s natural for high school students to feel stressed over college transitions, so by hosting the annual panel, the goal is to give students real-life examples of success after high school.

And that goal was definitely achieved. Sophomore Sawyer Girgis felt as if the panel was an eye-opening experience that alleviated the anxiety of impending college life.  

“Seeing that there’s other kids who have come before me and do what I also want to do— it’s really motivating,” Girgis said. 

Likewise, Sophomore Danielle Weathers also took away important lessons following the panel.

“Seeing people who were too hard on themselves during high school, but later finding success in college made me feel a lot less stressed,” Weathers said.  “It’s helping me accept that one bad grade won’t be the end of my life,”

The gathering is also an opportunity for former students to reconnect after a long time apart.  

Participant Paige Liebel, class of 2023, commented on this.  

“While only graduating last year, I really loved being able to see my friends who graduated before me and getting to reconnect with them.”

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About the Contributors
Grace Baxendale, Staff Writer, Staff Artist
Grace Baxendale is a Sophomore and a first year staff writer on The Gauntlet. She enjoys art, gaming, and listening to music in her free time. She’s watched almost every horror movie released, although she also likes thrillers and drama. She also has two cats that mean the world to her. Her favorite artists are Radiohead, Wave to Earth, Deftones, and Slowdive. 

Sarah Black, Staff Writer
Sarah Black is a junior at Saint Stephen's and a first year member of the Gauntlet. Aside from being a staff writer, she enjoys spending her free time snorkeling and watching Zack and Cody. She also enjoys spending time with her two golden retrievers, and her favorite color is gray.
Finn Kemp, Staff Writer
Finn Kemp is a new addition to Saint Stephens and the Gauntlet, with great communication skills and a great understanding of human interactions. He is a high-level athlete, which also helps him understand situations and people better and relate with people who show effort, determination, and respect. He is currently a writer for the Gauntlet and his favorite show is either Breaking Bad or Demon Slayer. Kemp moved from Luxembourg and has 3 pets, two cats and one dog. His favorite color is light blue because of the ocean and water.

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