SILVIA SANCHEZ SERRA ‘19: Here, There, and Everywhere

If you saw Silvia Sanchez Serra on campus her first year at Fryeburg Academy, chances are good that she was running. One of the most universally engaged students in the Fryeburg Academy student body, Silvia needed to run to all her meetings, practices, and competitions in order to be on time. Residential life director Jessica Brooks recalls the image of Silvia getting from one activity to another, “During her first year here everyone used to laugh because Silvia ran full speed everywhere she went. This year she said that she has realized that it is ok to just walk.”

Although Silvia walks now, she is still involved in nearly every area of Fryeburg Academy student life. Athletically Silvia plays soccer, runs indoor track, and will continue her ultimate frisbee career this spring. Silvia is also a member of the Fryeburg Academy math team, the Daniel Webster society, dorm council, Interact, the Dragon Dance Team, and the international student club. Still needing more to fill her time, Silvia is a dorm proctor, a musician, and part of several musicals, student council secretary, and this fall she took on an internship with the FA admission office.

Math teacher and coach Erik Gustafson describes what she brings to the math team and the Fryeburg community, “Sylvia's enthusiasm for life is contagious. In calculus and on the regional champion math team Sylvia has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills. She genuinely cares about others and is always willing the help. She is a rare gem.”

ESOL teacher Greg Huang-Dale shares similar observations when talking about Silvia’s presence in the International Student Club, “Silvia is always positive and encouraging to others. Silvia sets an expectation that our community is welcoming and fun.”

Silvia came to Fryeburg Academy after she heard good things about the school and campus life through her cousin Oscar Heras. Hesitant to leave her home in Spain at first, she decided to give Fryeburg a try. The original plan was to spend one year abroad and return to Spain, but as the end of her first year approached, Silvia realized that she wanted to return to Fryeburg Academy. Silvia explains, “It was not my intent to stay. I planned for one year to get the American experience and learn the language. In late March I decided I wanted to stay and that meant that I needed to graduate here.”

Not surprisingly, the consideration driving the decision to stay was Silvia’s involvement in the many opportunities offered at FA, “When I started to realize that I would have to leave, I knew that I would miss Fryeburg Academy. At homeschool is just academics. Here it is more clubs, music, sport too.”
Even now anticipating graduation and life beyond FA, Silvia recognizes what she will miss most about her FA experience, “I will miss how much I have been involved. I really enjoy the people here.”

While at FA, Silvia’s participation in the athletic department included soccer, indoor track, and ultimate frisbee. The joy of competition and developing her skills is important to Silvia, but it is clear when talking to her about her athletic experience, it is the connection with other students that she values most. Recalling her athletic experiences, she explains, “Sports gave me a chance to meet so many friends, especially day students. During the long bus rides and practices, you get to meet people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise.”

Silvia played soccer and ran indoor track in Spain growing up, but she explains that her favorite sport is the one that she had never even seen before coming to the United States, “Frisbee is my favorite. There are no referees, and the teams are mixed boys and girls sometimes. It is so much fun!”

At the center of what makes Silvia so enjoyable to be around is the appreciation that she has for people.
It is everywhere Silvia is present, but it is most apparent when Silvia is in her home away from home - the dorm, “I love dorm life. It is awesome to meet people from all over the world. I have made so many friendships.”

Ann Chappell, the FA afternoon activities coordinator, and Silvia’s dorm parent tries to sum up Silvia’s value to the Fryeburg Academy community, “Silvia is amazing. In the dorm, she made fast friends arriving the first year for pre-season soccer. When she made the huge decision to return to FA to finish out her senior year with us we were the winners in that scenario. She is involved in ‘everything.’ She plays sports, is involved with music, was on the dorm council last year, and is a proctor this year. She has been instrumental each year in working on our music and the movies for Dorm Olympics. It goes on and on. Best of all. She is a great friend to all who know her."

Silvia is still unclear what next year will bring. She would like to stay in the United States, but she is unsure, “I am applying to US colleges, but I probably will go to Spain for college. When I have all my options, I will make a decision. In Spain, college is free.”

While Silvia won’t be here next fall, her example will be. The exuberance for life that Gustafson noted has been shared with those around Silvia in the dorm, the classroom, the athletic fields, in clubs, activities, and even the hallways. Silvia also leaves behind the following advice for students entering or returning to Fryeburg Academy, “Be open-minded. Be willing to try things that you have never tried before. Get out of your comfort zone. Talk to people you never considered talking to before.”

Listening to people speak about Silvia, the words seem to repeat themselves to the point that they begin to sound meaningless. At times, as Jess Brooks points out, you can’t explain to others Silvia’s impact on the community, “You have to experience Silvia to understand the quality person that she is. Words don’t really do her justice.”

List of 5 news stories.

  • FA’s Fall Sports Awards Assembly Recognizes Student-Athletes

    On Thursday, November 18th, Fryeburg Academy celebrated the fall sports season with its annual fall sports awards assembly held in the Wadsworth Arena. The following student-athletes were recognized for their outstanding performance during the fall 2021-22 season: 
  • FA's Goldberg Gallery Presents Artwork from Alum Isaac Rader

    Beginning in the month of October, the Goldberg Gallery will host the work of Isaac Rader. Rader, a 2013 graduate of Fryeburg Academy, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and has studied at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. He is a member of the Mount Washington Valley Art Association and has shown at many local venues throughout the Mount Washington Valley. 
  • Space Raiders

    This past March, the Space Raiders purchased a 9.25” refractor telescope with a computer-controlled motorized “go-to” mount and camera adapter. Thanks to the generous donations from the Perloff Family Foundation, The Lucas Spencer Passion Fund, and Sally and Jim Gibson of Fryeburg, the purchase was possible. The telescope purchase helps to further our mission for viewing and astrophotography of the planets, stars, galaxies, nebula, and comets. We will be having open viewing events on campus and at the OLRC barn as weather and schedules permit.
  • FA Appoints Two New Board Members: Renee C. Thomas ‘84, and Nicola Soares ‘86

    The Fryeburg Academy Board of Trustees has appointed two new board members: Renee C. Thomas ‘84, and Nicola Soares ‘86. Both women hail from Bermuda and spent their Academy years as students in its boarding program.
  • FA Students Join UM Buddy Defranco and MMEA Maine State Jazz Festivals 

    This January, Fryeburg Academy’s after-school jazz groups were able to resume limited rehearsals (following specific CDC guidelines for spacing, ventilation, masking, instrument covers, and rehearsal length), which allowed us to begin preparation for the spring virtual jazz festivals.

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