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.”
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List of 5 news stories.

  • FA Attends the National High School Model United Nations in NYC

    This year, 22 students traveled to New York City to attend the four-day National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) Conference on March 1-4.  Now in its 45th year, the NHSMUN is the largest and most prestigious conference, hosting over 5000 participants from more than 75 countries and 300 schools. The New York-based conference-- surrounded by offices of Permanent Missions to the United Nations as well as the United Nations Headquarters itself--provides the perfect backdrop for a robust international affairs experience and a broadening of global issues awareness. Students are provided with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the theory and practice of international relations firsthand and have the opportunity to attend the opening or closing ceremonies in the UN General Assembly chamber, where actual diplomats convene every year.
     
  • FA Wins Silver and Bronze at the Maine State Instrumental Jazz Festival

    On March 15 and 16, FA's Jazz bands traveled to South Portland High School to attend the Maine State Instrumental Jazz Festival. The New Standard Combo and FA Big Band both performed very well, earning silver while the Yukon King Combo and Fryeburg Academy Jazz Orchestra won bronze. It is noteworthy that FA's New Standard Combo earned 74 out of 75 points for their performances--one point shy of claiming the gold standard and was one of the highest scoring combo performances of the event.

    At the festival, Georgia Stafford '19 won the Dale Huff Outstanding Musicianship Award--awarded to the top-rated musician in the combo division. Other outstanding performances recognized at the jazz festival were as follows:



  • FA's Math Team Captures the Regional Title

    The Fryeburg Academy Math Team finished the season by defending their Pi-Cone League Championship title at Leavitt High School on March 6th. The Pi-Cone League consists of 14 teams from 11 regional high schools throughout Central Maine. Five meets were held this year from October through March.  50 Fryeburg Academy students competed on the math team, the highest number of participants on record. Senior team captains Antonina Zackorchemna '19 and Celine Lyu '19 did an outstanding job of leading the team this year.  Weekly practices were held at the LaCasse Dining Hall.
  • Winter Sports Awards 2019

    Congratulations to the following student-athletes who were recognized at this year's Winter Sports Awards:

    View photos from the awards ceremony: https://flic.kr/s/aHskT4S8b9

  • Seniors Casey and Reece Kneissler Represent FA at the WMC Citizenship Awards Banquet

    Each year, the Western Maine Conference (WMC) sponsors an awards banquet to honor students from each school in the conference. Every WMC school is asked to select two graduating seniors for their overall contributions to their school in the areas of academics, athletics, leadership, and extracurricular activities, as well as for their attitude and consideration of others.

    This year senior twins, Casey and Reece Kneissler, were selected to represent Fryeburg Academy at the banquet held on February 27 at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland, ME.

Fryeburg Academy

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Fryeburg Academy is an independent boarding and day school, serving grades 9-12 and postgraduate. We invite you to explore our site and learn how students from around the globe find their place in the world through our exceptional academic, art, and athletic programs.