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Emily Abbruzzese ’19

Icannot remember a time when I didn’t want to go to St. Paul’s School. I know that may be weird to consider, but when you have a mother who loves St. Paul’s as much as mine, it is easy to fall in love with the school early on in life. I first visited the campus at the young age of two for my mom’s anniversary. One thing I remember is a fierce desire to come back. Over time, I would start joining my mom on more of these anniversary trips, getting to walk in the parade with her, seeing the boat races, watching the incredible B.C. (Ballet Company) perform. My first memory of meeting a student that went here was when I was around the age of ten years old. From what my mom told me, and what this student reiterated, I knew St. Paul’s was definitely the place for me. I could just imagine in my head walking along the paths on my way to class. In a few years’ time, what had been a daydream turned into reality. I was so excited at the beginning of the year to be able to start fresh and explore my identity here at SPS.

A few weeks into the school year, I got a call from my mom that she was coming up. Granted I wasn’t surprised about that, as she adored coming to the school for any reason. However, I was completely shocked when she told me she was making a chapel speech. I had not told many people at the time that she was on the Board of Trustees, and even when I did, it would just come up in conversations. Coming here, I didn’t want to be known as the girl whose mom was on the board, and that she was the only reason that I was accepted here. Sure enough, a week or two later I was talking with this girl who had the nerve to say that I probably got in just because of my mom. For the rest of that day that was all I could think about. Later in the evening I was talking to my good friend, who happened to be a faculty kid. She said sometimes people made her feel the same way, but that is not how we should feel about our acceptance to this school. As trustee kids, faculty kids, staff kids, we should not feel that we are here only because of our connections. Before coming to St. Paul’s, I was a good student and involved in extracurricular activities outside of school. I was a dancer for eleven years, in my school choir for three, and I participated in various theatre programs for several years. On top of that I have been a Girl Scout since the third grade, I joined an all-girls robotics team where we became the first Girl Scout team to win the championship award at our regional competition, and I have volunteered with special needs organizations since the age of nine. What else is there to share?

My mother’s position at this school is not the reason I am here. Sure, it may have had a factor in my application, but it doesn’t define who I am. I love my mom and I am proud of everything she does for the school. If I had the chance to go back in time and prevent her from making her chapel speech, I wouldn’t because sooner or later people would have found out about her position. I am not my mom or her position. I am Emily Abbruzzese, a Third Former here at SPS who can make her own path.

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