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Valued Voices
Exciting Choices

Finley Lemma '21

Stony Brook University

“My goal of inclusivity and understanding has been carried out well throughout my years here, and, although I'm not perfect, I think that I have helped others to be more open-minded and empathetic through respectful conversation.”  

PRISM (President), UNITID, Medical Scholars  

Three Words to Describe the Class of 2021: Resilient, Entertaining, Innovative  

Most Meaningful Activity  
My favorite club has definitely been PRISM. After years of advocating for LGBTQ+ rights alone, it means so much to me to have a safe space for students where we can work together. I'm excited for the direction that this newer club is taking!   

Reflections on Learning  
I got to make a sword in art class, which was incredible. I would come out of the wood shop every day covered in dust and holding something that slowly began to look more and more like my favourite type of sword. Considering the limited experience I had with carpentry going into that project, I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. 

Inspirational Teacher-Coach 
Math was my worst subject until I had Ms. Sotello as a teacher in 10th grade. She encouraged me to ask for help when I needed it – a lesson that extended to other classes as well – and provided me with explanations of why and how math works, which was crucial to my understanding of the subject. Math is now one of my best classes. 

The Academy Difference  
I have found friends here who I never would have met otherwise. These are some of the closest relationships I have formed, and we are talking about living together in the future. 

A Quick Word About Finley  
“Finley has helped to break and reshape the mold – not into one new form but allowing our school and its identity to take on various forms. While PRISM’s work may seem like small steps, Finley’s leadership ensures that they are both respectful and thoughtful steps towards a more inclusive community here at Norfolk Academy. What has been most impressive to watch is how Finley’s efforts have garnered the support of both students and a growing number of the faculty.” ~ Ms. Catherine McCallum, Finley’s Precalculus Teacher   

The thing that most makes me a Bulldog is…compassion.