Quarter 1: 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 first Quarter of the High School Year!

Sophia Goebelbecker – 9/8

Sophia Goebelbecker told us, “At Betsy Ross’s house, I found my passion for sewing.” Since age 4 or 5 Sophia has been fascinated with sewing, and it all began with a family trip to Ross’s home. There, she saw the plethora or sewing supplies and flags all around and, after learning about her story, decided she wanted to be just like her. From that day forward sewing became a major part of Sophia’s life. After receiving her first sewing kit from her mother, Sophia was driven to learn. Her first project was a teddy bear, and she quickly moved on to converting old t-shirts into pillows. With her newfound confidence, Sophia attempted to create a Christmas stocking better than her grandmother’s. It did not turn out as she hoped, which made her realize that she needed to improve her skills. She began taking classes outside of school at The Fashion Class, in High School she enrolled in the fashion elective with Ms. Crozier & Mr. Katzman, and spent summers at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Marist College where she was able to attend Fashion Week in NYC and start building a portfolio. These experiences helped Sophia work through challenges and come up with solutions while expressing herself creatively. She explained, “Sometimes it goes smoothly and sometimes I make mistakes. But I always know that I can make it work— as in life.” Sophia concluded her presentation with a fashion show featuring her original designs.


Fiona Somers – 9/8

“Have any of you been chased by a moose?” began Fiona Somers. Having first visited the scenic New Hampshire Waldorf extension campus when she was two years old, Fiona connected her experiences at Glen Brook to important stages in her development and explained how this special place contributed to her growth as a person. One such experience was her encounter with a wild moose during her 10th grade class trip! She also looked back at her earliest trips spent as a “gosling” during the summers when her father taught woodworking at camp. This was the beginning of what would become an incredibly close friend group who would share adventures at Glen Brook for years to come. They climbed Mount Monadnock for the first time at about age six, taught the new campers the ropes and supported each other in all areas, from Saturday Night Entertainment to setting up camp sites. As a teen she participated in the Falcon Outdoor Leadership Program, where she pushed herself to complete various activities such as a 45-mile canoe trip where she paddling for 16 miles. She said, “I felt so accomplished and proud of what I learned about myself—that whatever I set my mind to I was able to complete.” Fiona also shared how she developed a renewed gratitude for the people in her life after spending 24 hours alone in the woods during the final challenge of the trip. Finally, during her time as a Counselor-in-Training/Farmer-in-Training she learned to nurture and care for the crops and animals that provided her food. She decided to become a vegetarian when she discovered that she could not bring herself to slaughter any of the animals. It was a profound experience that Fiona says “opened [her] eyes to something [she] had never even thought about.” Fiona credits Glen Brook for changing her life in myriad ways that she will always be grateful for. In closing she stated, “Taking all this wisdom, moving forward with it to create a better society will be Glen Brook’s lasting legacy.”


Angel Chen – 9/29

Angel Chen captivated the audience by sharing her experiences of attending school so far away from her family. A native of China, Angel divulged her complicated feelings about the initial decision that sent her to the United States to study. However, she went on to explain that, as she got older, she grew to feel gratitude. This became particularly evident after she injured herself at school and her parents went above and beyond to care for her during her recovery. She realized that through their hard-work and devotion, they were dedicated to giving her the best possible opportunities in life. Angel expressed how this realization not only enhanced her relationship with her family, but also helped her learn to see situations from the perspective of others, while giving her a renewed sense of love and respect for her family that continues to this very day.


Michael Reed – 10/13

Michael Reed says he has always had his “head in the clouds.” Unlike most people however, he isn’t merely dreaming, he really wants to be there. For as long as he can remember, Michael has been fascinated by flight and space travel. His father, who attended the Air Force Academy, took him to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando when he was only 4 years old. Michael was so captivated by the rocket ships and attractions that his father nicknamed him “space cadet.” At the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, he especially loved the space flight simulators. Throughout Middle School, Michael was a curious student, but nothing was more interesting to him than learning about flight and how planes work. In High School, Michael decided take his passion to the next level by learning about Aeronautical Engineering. During his freshman year, he took courses outside of school in Engineering, and followed that up the next year with Robotics. However, along the way he felt something was missing. Michael soon realized that not only did he want to understand how planes fly, he also wanted to fly them. Michael is currently studying college-level Aeronautical Engineering and taking flight lessons! His goal is to become both an Engineer and a Pilot and continue to live with his head in the clouds.


Chloe Chun – 10/20

Chloe Chun’s heartfelt speech revealed personal experiences that many were not aware of and, hopefully, will never face. The challenge of losing her older sister altered the way Chloe thought about herself and the world. It created challenges that she struggled to overcome and understand. She explained that she, “lost her shine.” However, after a period of time and a move to New York, she was finally able to move forward and pursue her passion for business. Through hard work and determination, Chloe received the opportunity to intern at Perry Ellis International where she was able to renew her confidence, ambition and, once again, become excited for her future. She learned to control negative thoughts and care for herself. Chloe showed us her resilience, shine, and her hope that others can learn from what she had gone through. She concluded by reciting her Junior Poem which states, “Getting lost doesn’t mean you have to lose who you are. I think it helps you find yourself.”


Marie-Anne Harrigan – 11/3

“Has anyone in this room ever felt singled out because of their race?” began Marie-Anne Harrigan. Annie thoughtfully analyzed and presented her experiences as young black woman living in “different worlds,” maintaining distinct friend and family groups (that sometimes intersect) and the personal meaning she derived from her awareness of her complicated social culture. Before attending the Waldorf School of Garden City in 2012, Annie had not given much thought to race, as she grew up in a mostly homogenous black neighborhood. However, upon starting at the Waldorf School of Garden City, Annie soon realized that her outward behavior affected the way people related to her, and vice-versa, and these reactions were dependent on her surroundings. Suddenly, in her hometown she was accused of trying to “act white” whenever she used proper English instead of the more colloquial slang. Meanwhile at school, using slang made her feel “too black” so she would tone it down. As time went on, she discovered that she had many likes and dislikes that did not fit into the common stereotypes for white or black people. The most important lesson she learned from this awareness is to accept herself and embrace her diverse interests and unique perspectives. Annie has grown confident in standing up for herself when questioned about her so-called “race-based” choices. She concluded by challenging the importance that others place on conforming to traditionally black or white stereotypes as she stated, “My name is Marie-Anne Harrigan, for those of you who don’t know me, I am black but I am not a stereotype.”

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