Note: The night of Spring Celebration Idalina was inspired to speak from the heart, beyond the speech she had written. As we did not record the speeches, the below text is not exactly what she said that night but instead is the speech that she prepared in advance.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve attended one of these dinners and a lot has changed. The person who was sitting at one of these tables five years ago is not the same person standing in front of you today. Of course, that is expected to happen with time, but the extent of the growth, to me, is unprecedented. As I tell my story, I’d like to emphasize that it is not particular to me. The Beacon students sitting next to you, the ones in high school, college, and beyond all share this similar story.
I fell in love with boarding schools in the fall of my eighth-grade year; however, I did not know how to make this dream come true and neither did my mom, my teachers, or any other adult in my life. I wasn’t sure how to apply to a private school, didn’t understand the financial aid process, and didn’t have the means to pay for SSAT preparation. I was stuck and for some time, this dream was just that– a dream. It was during a high school fair at my middle school gym that someone showed me my path towards boarding school– it was Beacon Academy. The next 14 months were packed with action. Every day there was something pressing to be done: SSAT prep, math homework, applications– I could go on. I started to notice academic changes very soon within that year. I went from an 18 to a 76 on the SSATs, I could somewhat do Algebra, and I could write meaningful English papers. The most important changes to me, however, occurred at home and within myself. I started to notice the difference between the lives of the people I interacted with at Beacon and those of the people in my community– and it was a drastic difference. While the rest of Boston seemed to be flourishing with innovation, the people of Dorchester and similar low-income neighborhoods were stuck in despair, lack of opportunities, and a vicious cycle that keeps people in this situation. Beacon was my ticket out of this path. On the 10th of March, after arduous work at Beacon, I was lucky enough to be admitted to Middlesex School.
Going to Middlesex was a turning point for me. When I first arrived on campus, I realized I was in a whole different world; however, it didn’t take long for me to make it my own. On the first day of orientation, I met a group of students who to this day are still my closest friends. I’ve had unforgettable experiences– I’ve visited China with my classmates, went to a summer program at the University of Oxford, visited France and Spain with friends, learned a new language, took up another two, and the list goes on and on. For these most important experiences, I, of course, had the help of Beacon. Lisa DiAdamo cheered me on and helped me to secure the resources I needed to make the trip to Oxford. Rebecca Forrester and her team helped me with everything during the college process! My applications, the FAFSA and CSS forms, SAT prep, and even college visits.
Tonight, you have a chance to get to know kids, “Beacons,” who are both hopeful and anxious about going to school with your kids, who are dreamers like me, who will become doers. Tonight is a chance to really get to know each other. It is the “Social Final Exam” for the Class of 2018. They are ready!
Thank you in advance for helping to make Beacon possible and powerful.
Enjoy your dinner!