Seniors say goodbye as they look ahead

April 30, 2018

Saying goodbye

As seniors prepare to leave campus for senior projects, many reminisce on their time at St. Paul Academy and Summit School and what the transition to college will be like. For the majority, the process is bittersweet; while sad to leave behind their friends and teachers, they are excited for the adventures that await them.

Senior Sabrina Rucker has been at SPA since 1st grade, and is sad to leave but excited to come back and visit.

“I’m gonna miss all the people I’ve known and met here, especially my friends. It will be a relief to move on to somewhere new because I’ve been here my whole life. I won’t really be saying goodbye since I have two younger sisters who still go to SPA, so I’ll make sure to visit,” Rucker said.

As Rucker leaves SPA, she will take many valuable skills she learned at SPA with her.

“I really learned how to manage a lot of work here, so the ability to multitask is something I will definitely use when I go to college and probably for the rest of my life,” Rucker said.

While not for as long as Rucker, senior Mira Zelle has attended SPA since 5th grade.

I came here for my sophomore year, and by coming part way through high school I was able to see how unique SPA was.”

— Brian Orza

“I’m excited to meet new people since I’ve been going to school with the same 400 people for the past eight years. I know everybody and I have really nice relationships with my teachers. I also get to go to classes I want to with my friends which is really unique about SPA, so moving to a new environment is gonna be hard,” Zelle said.

Senior Daniel Ellis has been at SPA since his 9th-grade year. Even though he has not been at SPA as long as some of his fellow classmates, he agrees that leaving will be hard because of all the relationships he has cultivated.

“Over the past two years, the robotics team has become such a large part of what I spend my time doing during school. Working with other people to make a really cool product is something I am really going to miss, but also it has taught me a lot about determination and teamwork. I’m going to miss the team and also my teachers because they have really motivated me,” Ellis said.

Senior Brian Orza agrees with Ellis’ sentiments, highlighting the relationships he has been able to create with his teachers.

“At SPA, almost every skill I have learned has something to do with communicating with others. I came here for my sophomore year, and by coming part way through high school I was able to see how unique SPA was. It’s kinda sad to say goodbye to all my teachers and friends. Hopefully, I’ll be able to maintain all the relationships I formed here after graduation,” Orza said.

Some seniors are looking forward to leaving more than others, like senior Sylvie Schifsky who came to SPA during 9th grade.

“I have spent a lot of my time here waiting to get out, and I feel like a lot of people do too, because we all want to get out of high school and into the real world. Still, I’m going to miss everybody. The dynamic here is so different than any school I’ve ever been to. Here, I can really get to know my teachers, which I’m sure will also be the case in college, but I’m gonna miss it a lot. It’s gonna be tough keeping in touch with everyone even though our grade has only a 100 people in it and there are so many people going to the same school as me,” Schifsky said.

Looking ahead


Nitya Thakkar

Seniors Sylvie Schifsky, Sabrina Rucker, Brian Orza and Erik Quillopa showcase the school they will be going to through flags on their lockers and school gear.

While many seniors feel both scared and sad to leave SPA behind, many are also excited for the freedom and opportunities available to them.

“I’m looking forward to having more freedom at [the University of Minnesota], both literally and in terms of the classes I can take and what I decided to pursue,” Orza said.

Zelle, like Orza, is excited to attend college in a city and have more freedom.

“George Washington University has an open campus which is going to be a big change from SPA which has a very stereotypical college-prep school vibe. I’m going to miss it but I am also excited to be in D.C.,” Zelle said.

While Schifsky will be attending college in state at St. Olaf, she had no preference about where she went.

“Being in state was not an important factor for me, but I just ended up being here. I also never really considered going to a school that a lot of other SPA people will also go to, but I’m looking forward to both entering this new step of my life with them and meeting a lot of new people,” Schifsky said.

Rucker is looking forward to meeting new people in Scotland at Abertay University.

“I was applying to UK schools on a whim, and I went and toured and it was the one I really liked out of all the other colleges. I’m really looking forward to seeing what going to school in an entirely new country is like. I’m also really excited because the quarter of the students at the school I’m going to are international, so I won’t just be interacting with students from Scotland, but from all over the world,” Rucker said.

Senior Erik Quillopa agrees with Rucker since he will also be attending college outside the country in Canada at the University of Winnipeg.

“I am both excited and terrified to not be in the US anymore, and to have a new life in a completely different country,” Quillopa said.

Whether going to school in-state or in another country, the seniors have all learned valuable lessons and created many cherishable memories at SPA that they will carry with them as they enter the real world.

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