By Maram Sharif ’22
Spring term is definitely one of the most interesting times on campus. It not only brings phenomenal weather and exciting events, but it also presents us with next year’s hard-working elected Prefects. 26 qualified candidates ran this year and competed for the eight spots open for the finalists. Ms. Ruscz hopes that “we continue to build really strong momentum as a kind community. The Prefects this year did such a great job building back momentum after some chaotic years and I want to see that momentum continue and grow.” Let’s meet the 2022-23 Elected Prefects and see how their vision aligns with that of Ms. Ruscz. This year’s elected Prefects are Vivian Boucher, Emily Chiappa, Will Marich, Hunter Fonseca, Maeren Hay, Ashleen Hay, Chris Wang, and Alex Johnson.
Vivian Boucher is a three-year junior. She is a day student from Watertown, Connecticut. Throughout her three years at Gunn, she has been a member of Crossroads (a religious based club), photography club, and most recently, mindfulness club. She is a part of the variety of student-athletes here on campus and is currently a part of the varsity girls cross country, basketball, and lacrosse teams. When asked about her vision for next year, she replied: “As a Prefect, I am hoping to strengthen and build relationships with the community around me and be a voice on both the good and bad days. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to get to know and understand the people around me who make up such a welcoming community.” Overall, she found the election process an incredible experience; “As someone who is not the loudest in the room and is scared to death of being the center of attention, I truly felt that I was able to connect with the community on a deeper level throughout the process. Running for Prefect enabled me to get out of my comfort zone and truly changed my perspective about the community and Gunn as a whole. I think the continuous support and encouragement I received from my friends, siblings, and parents was the most rewarding part of the process. At the end of the day, I am incredibly honored to be working alongside my seven other peers who were selected and am excited to see what we will accomplish next year!” A fun fact about her is that her favorite place in the world is Bridgton, Maine.
Emily Chiappa has been at FGS for three years now. She lives in New Milford, CT. As a sophomore, she was a campus contribution manager, an RA for her cohort, and a tour guide. This year, she’s a leader of Gunn Society, one of the girl’s crew captains, a day student RA, and now, a Prefect Elect. When asked about her favorite co-curricular, she replied: “I can’t say I have a favorite co-curricular, because they’re all so special and there’s so many people who are passionate about different ones that it’s hard to choose. I’m on the crew team and the ski team, and I’ve done Highlander Hockey and Mind & Body in the past, all of which I’ve enjoyed. If Mr. Poole asks though, my favorite is baseball.” As a Prefect, her biggest wish is to connect with the students on a personal level and to inspire someone as past Prefects have done for her; “Being a Prefect is a big commitment but an amazing experience that I’ll take advantage of to the fullest. My hope is that once the other seven and myself graduate, we will have left the school a better place than it was before.” She found the Prefect election process a wonderful experience to hone her leadership and public speaking skills, and develop relationships with teachers and students that she hadn’t before. “The other candidates were very respectful and kind throughout it all, so I’m happy to say that it wasn’t a huge challenge, though I did have to deal with a lot of nerves!” Fun facts about her that she hopes to one day attend the United States Military Academy and serve in the U.S. Army, one of the items on her bucket list is to finally develop a taste for bananas, even though “they’re super gross,” and that she’s “actually pretty tall, just no one can see it because they don’t look hard enough.”
Will Marich has been at FGS for three years as a student but eleven in total as a faculty child. He is the leader of Crossroads, a bible study group on campus and he was a Head Tour Guide this past year. His favorite co-curricular is Men’s Lacrosse. When asked about his experiences running for Prefect he said: “The Perfect process was a challenging process for me but was extremely beneficial. I was asked difficult questions and struggled for a primary reason to run, but at the end of the day I really wanted to run for the position and it was extremely rewarding. One thing I want to accomplish as a Prefect is to have fun and make it the best year possible. I also want to be myself and honest with all of you.
Hunter Fonseca is a three-year junior day student. He lives in Middlebury, CT but his true hometown is Naugatuck, CT. He is a member of the Gray Party and has been a frequent member of other clubs on campus. The Prefect role will be his first real leadership position on campus. He is really excited and a tad bit nervous, but he can’t wait to start. Soccer is by far his favorite co-curricular; “I’ve been a proud member of the varsity soccer program for three years and look forward to starting my fourth year next fall. We have a great team full of great kids, who all push each other every day to get better.” As a Prefect, he would like to build an environment on campus where people are comfortable trying new things, “I would like to inspire and encourage others to step out of their comfort zone. A space where people can be supported and aided in their endeavors.” He found the Prefect process an “overall a very rewarding experience itself. I’m extremely pleased to be granted the opportunity to be able to present myself to the school. The ability to share one’s beliefs and aspirations for the school is extremely encouraging. But on the other hand, seeing fellow classmates and friends, people you value and think bring character and admiration to the position, being rejected from the role was hard.” A fun fact about him is that his favorite condiments are mayonnaise and blue cheese.
Maeren Hay has been a boarder at FGS for three years. She lives in Goshen, CT. She’s been a co-leader of Abigail’s Circle, a class representative for Gunn Society, and has also participated in poetic activities with the Poetry Club. Her favorite co-curriculars are soccer and lacrosse. As a Prefect, she hopes to make the “other students feel comfortable coming up with suggestions and advice, so then I could actively make it happen for them.” She found the biggest challenge in the election process “trying to mentally figure out who the final eight would be since there were so many amazing and capable people running from the start. The most rewarding experience was during the speeches and Q&A because I found myself genuinely smiling after everyone’s speeches. It was really cool to see my subconscious reaction because I was so proud of all my peers.” A fun fact is that she did Irish Step Dancing for more than five years.
Ashleen Hay is from a very small town in Connecticut called Goshen. It happens to also be right by a beautiful lake that she has been really lucky to call her home for 17 years. She has been a member of Green Club, Abigail’s Circle, and Gunn Gives Back (Community Service Club) during her time at FGS so far, but she is always looking to join more groups on campus.
She has also been one of the class representatives alongside Graham Ince for both her Sophomore and Junior year. This year, she was also an RA for Gibby dorm (the best dorm according to her), and was also one of the Captains of the Highlander Hockey team. She is not sure if she could choose a favorite co-curricular “because each of them are truly special in their own way,” however she has to say “Mr. Doody and Mrs. Gritti’s JV basketball team my freshman year was pretty awesome.” As the Head Prefect, she hopes that she “can simply make my peers proud, help insight positive and important change together, and to make the 2022-2023 school year one to be remembered forever.” She found the Prefect election process “definitely a stressful one, but through it I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to stay true to my own beliefs and feelings and how to face these feelings head on through direct action, and I am very grateful for that.” A fun fact about her is that she used to be able to catch those little blue dragonflies you see in the spring and summer with her hands.
Chris Wang has been at FGS for two years. She is from Beijing, China. She is a member of ASA and she is starting a peer tutoring program on campus. Her favorite co-curriculars are field hockey and tennis. As a Prefect, she hopes to make everyone feel comfortable to advocate for what they want. She found the elections a “long but rewarding process. At first, I was only trying to have a new experience. But along the way, when I am pushed to think deeper and deeper about our school and people making up this community, I found a stronger urge to run for Prefect and also built confidence to speak up in front of the whole school. More importantly, I made so many new connections with people. Stepping out of my comfort zone is something I am scared of but secretly desired at the same time. I’m glad that running for prefect has given me this opportunity.” A fun fact about her is that she has six moles on my left cheek that are shaped like a new moon.
Alex Johnson has been at FGS for three years. He is from Sag Harbor, NY. He has been a member of Gray Party, been an RA, and a tour guide. His favorite co-curricular activities are hockey and golf. As a Prefect, he says: “I hope to create an even more strong and tight knit school. I hope to make sure that everyone is welcome by reaching out to all to ensure that everyone’s FGS experience is great.” He adds: “The process of running for Prefect was challenging but overall rewarding. I thought that the Q&A was difficult to prepare for, and they asked some tough questions. In the end, I thought that it all went well and was a rewarding experience.” A fun fact about him is that oddly enough somehow he is 4% French while no one else in his family is.
We are very excited to see these eight students step into their new roles as Prefects soon and achieve everything that will help our school’s community grow and flourish.