As we near the end of another school year (and a very unique one at that!) we feel the pull towards deep reflection–on the pandemic, where we all were a year ago, or how far we’ve come. Caitlin Duffy ‘24 is just beginning her journey at APH. As she remembers when she first walked through the spider-web doors of Penguin Hall she notes that who she was eight months ago has grown and changes today.

“APH has allowed me to grow in so many ways, especially in becoming more confident in myself and my voice. Before this year I had a good idea of what I liked and enjoyed doing, but now I know for a fact that I am passionate about politics and writing and I hope to one day do something that involves both. I also love that APH has given me the space to step out of my comfort zone, thus providing me with the ability to discover new things and find who I am and what I love doing.
I got to take a Civics class this year which I loved! I learned how to use my voice to create change. We recently wrote letters to President Biden addressing the executive orders he recently signed and vocalizing how we would like to see change in these specific areas. I hope to spend the rest of my life fighting for a better world.

 

Because of APH, I am so much happier now! In the past, I have struggled with school because a lot of my classmates didn’t take it seriously. I have always loved school and I was teased for being smart. Here, I can be smart and athletic and anything I want to be! I have made friends that love me for who I am and always support and encourage me. I have classmates who lift me up and inspire me, and I have teachers who push me to learn and grow. Everyday I go home excited to talk about what I learned at school or did during club block or sports. I never used talk about school or friends and I rarely did anything outside of my comfort zone. I thought I was happy, but now I realize that I was just content. Here at APH, I am truly happy. I am smiling everyday and laughing and having a great time in my classes and sports.

 

Before this year, I never really had a group of friends who loved me for me and supported me no matter what and finding that at APH has been one of the best experiences of my life. My friends here are my friends for life and the laughs we share everyday will stay with me forever. Being around people who are confident in themselves and their abilities has inspired me to do the same.
For the first time in my life, I am actually excited to go to all my classes and there isn’t a single class that I don’t like (I even find math class fun and I never used to like math).
 
If you are feeling nervous about classes or making new friends or starting fresh just know that it is okay to be nervous, but don’t let it stop you from keeping an open mind because somethings that you may originally be skeptical about can turn out to be a complete game changer in your life!”