Seniors Hear Advice for Upcoming Life


Anthony Marini (left), Ronnie Wallraff, Danni Cruz, Matthew Rivera, Avital Goldberg-Curran, Madison Gates, Kevin Booker (right) all spoke and helped lead the assembly held for seniors.

Kylie Hopkins, Editor

“Walk into a room with two things in mind: Why are you here and what are you taking away from this” was what Kevin Booker had opened with when the seniors had their Wednesday assembly. Booker, a professor at Mitchell College and public speaker, led the assembly for seniors during extended advisory. 

The extended advisories during Wednesday’s have been received with mixed feelings, especially when it comes to the feelings of upperclassmen. The seniors in particular felt as though these icebreaker activities would benefit the underclassmen who were still learning about their peers, but the senior advisories have been together for four years and know each other well. The school listened to the complaints of students and reworked the advisory, leading each senior to the auditorium for an assembly on college advice by students at different colleges.

The assembly was led by Kevin Booker who introduced four college students who told students stories about them getting to the position they are in today, and left them with some thoughtful advice for the future. 

The first student, Matthew Rivera, is at Trinity College with the aspirations of becoming a motivational speaker. He was the first person in his family to attend college, a goal he had throughout his middle and high school career. His advice was something he heard from actor Will Smith, which was to lay the foundation “brick by brick.” By this, he means to make a goal and take small steps to achieve that goal, something that resonated with many seniors as the college process is a lot of small steps before even leaving high school. 

The second speaker was Anthony Marini, a student at Mitchell who left West Virginia where he was playing baseball to come home and help his family during the pandemic. He went to Mitchell to play baseball and advised the seniors to take care of their mental health, avoid senioritis at all costs, and always chase after dreams. He connected with students from having the background of a student athlete and understood what seniors went through, so his advice on taking care of oneself stuck with students. 

Booker introduced the next speaker, the youngest elected official in New London. Danni Cruz, the recently elected New London Board of Education member, is a full time UCONN Avery Point student as well as elected official. He has an interesting anecdote he shared as he was not the best student. He was skipping in middle school and wrote to former President Obama about these academic struggles. To his surprise, Obama then called his school, passing on wisdom about staying in school as well as not being afraid of asking for help. This advice stuck with Danni Cruz, who advised every student to not be afraid to ask for help as people will be there along the way. It led him to the success he has had in his young adult life and was inspiring for others.

Ronnie Wallraff talked about his positive experience with community college and how his hard work had also saved him money by taking this course. He left the seniors with simple but effective advice: just try hard in school and it will pay off. 

The assembly ended with seniors speaking about what they had learned and built a closer bond between students as they all currently face the same struggles of figuring out the next step in their life. 

The students had indeed listened to Booker’s initial advice. They had taken away important advice to utilize for their future, hearing from inspirational young people. Walking out the doors of the auditorium, the class of 2022 was more connected as they face their futures.