Name: Sarah Caplan
Years at Shipley: 14
Attending in the Fall: Northeastern University
Major/Area of Interest: International Business
Varsity Squash (Captain Senior Year); Service Committee; Compass: Literary Magazine (Editor-in-Chief in Senior Year).
Who was your most influential teacher and why?
I have had many influential teachers during my time at Shipley. Some that come to mind are Mrs. L (Friendship a.k.a SEED), Mr. Wareikis (4th), Mrs. Small (7th), Mr. Stetina (8th/9th), Sra. Antoine (advisor/teacher), and Mrs. Gearhart (9th/11th). Honestly, I could go on and on about every teacher I've had because almost all of them have been amazing. However, I won't do that because that would take more than 4,000 words, so I'll focus on one.
Mr. Stetina was new to Shipley when I was in 8th grade and no one was sure what to expect, especially because he was replacing a Shipley Middle School icon. I don't remember much of my 8th-grade year, but I do remember the eye-opening experience I had in his classroom. Mr. Stetina told us early on that he would be following the curriculum that had been left for him, yet by Halloween, it had been thrown out the window. He was the first person to introduce me to the fact that there is bias in history and what we are told is not always the truth. He taught me to question my perspective and listen to the experiences of others. He is a big reason why I want part of my college education to be international. I was lucky enough to learn from him in both 8th and 9th grade which truly formed my love of history and desire to continue studying it my senior year. However, Mr. Stetina did not just influence my love of history, but he also supported me during a low period of my life. He may not even be aware of this, but in the spring of 8th grade, I was burnt out and overwhelmed for many reasons. I had become behind in school, and I felt as if I was drowning in commitments. However, I clearly remember going to talk to Mr. Stetina when I started to get back on track and I remember him telling me not to worry about his class. He simply told me that history could wait (it wasn't going anywhere) and that I needed to take care of myself first. I must have had at least ten missing assignments and he excused all of them. That small act of kindness has stayed with me five years later. That moment stuck with me because for the first time in my life I believed that I needed to prioritize myself. I know without a doubt that if it was not for Mr. Stetina, I would not be on the path I'm on today and I most likely would not be attending my dream school (Northeastern) next year.
What was your most memorable experience at Shipley?
My most memorable experience at Shipley was probably my junior year, meaning hybrid learning during COVID. For me personally being in online classes was extremely difficult, so I really appreciated when we went back to campus in the fall. It was definitely a strange year, and it did have complications, however being at Shipley during the pandemic made my mental health better. Because I was able to actually see my friends and teachers every day I never felt isolated like so many others did. Furthermore, our teachers tried their best to give us some sort of normalcy in the classroom. Some of that year is a blur, but I'll never forget how I felt safe and joyful every day at Shipley during the pandemic.
What does Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing mean to you?
To me it means having the courage to take risks and try new things, while also being the best possible version of yourself you could be. Moreover, I think it means to not let fear stop you, while understanding that others may be afraid.
Complete this sentence: Shipley has prepared me to…
…to think about the big picture and always question if there is another side to a story.
Reflections on your time at Shipley:
I have been at Shipley for fourteen years, so when I think back it seems as if there was never a time before Shipley. Some people may think it's just another private school, but in my opinion, what makes it different are the teachers. I have never had a horrible teacher at Shipley. Now that does not mean I loved all of my teachers, because some of them I despised, but they have always tried their best and given their all to their students. I would not have stayed at Shipley if it was not for the teachers who encouraged me daily to be a better version of myself. I give them credit for my future success and the opportunities I had when looking at colleges.
Some of the experiences I have had have also shaped who I am today, such as being on the squash team and taking Studio Art. However, both of those experiences were significantly better because of my coaches (Chris and Jenny) and my art teachers (Mr. Baris and Ms. O'Donnell). I honestly do not think there is anything else as important at The Shipley School as the teachers. They are the ones who designed engaging curriculums and who were there when I needed support.