KALLIE FELLOWS can light up a room with her mega-watt smile, but her deep curiosity and artistic talent truly define her. The Mount Holyoke freshman, who attended Greens Farms Academy (GFA), combines her love of biology and art for a refreshing take on the natural world.
Although a natural-born artist, she says, “It’s only through years of practice and experimentation that I got to where I am now.”
At age thirteen, Kallie began raising and studying cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis), testing and observing their intelligence and emotional reactions. But it wasn’t until the next year, when she first went scuba diving, that Kallie developed a true love for marine biology. “Diving is the most amazing experience,” she says. “You are surrounded by such majestic creatures that it is impossible not to feel completely wonderstruck.” Moved by the experience, she became SCUBA certified to further her research. In her junior year, she used her artistic skills to present her scientific research in an accessible way. “It’s amazing how beautiful and aesthetically pleasing nature is, and art can both capture and enhance it in such an amazing way.”
During her senior year at GFA, she embarked on yet another project, this time building her own miniature Tesla coil, then photographing the results. “It took two months of soldering, tinkering and problem solving for it to finally work out, but I was so proud when it did,” she says. “The finished photos were vibrant and individual, and I have to give credit to [my instructors] for their aid and patience.”
Embarking on her undergraduate career, with a focus on biology and pre-medicine, Kallie retains her sense of wonderment. “I think the reason art and science appeal to me so much is that they both require a degree of creativity and a sense of the unknown that other subjects don’t always have. There’s always more to explore and experiment with and there’s always more to be learned.”
Service to others is a basic tenet at Fairfield College Preparatory School (known as Fairfield Prep), and graduate BRENDAN FLYNN embraces this ideal fully.
Throughout his entire high school career, Brendan volunteered with the Kennedy Center’s Autism Project and the Lighthouse After School program. His hundreds of hours of service earned him The Kennedy Center Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. He was also a peer tutor, freshman retreat leader, Kairos Retreat rector and participated in service trips to Appalachia.
For Brendan, service is not a task to be endured, but, rather, a chance to enjoy and connect with others. “We gain so many positive experiences from our relationships with others,” he says. “I was able to get to know many incredibly strong people. Not only that, but being able to help them was very fulfilling.”
Brendan’s enthusiasm showed in the classroom as well. He was a summa cum laude student and AP scholar, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. After school, he was a member of the Classics Club, the Astronomy Club and the Fantasy Sports League.
Somehow, this go-getter found the time and energy to play on the baseball team. He picked up the sport at only five years old. “The variety that baseball inherently holds has helped me continue to love the game, even through today.”
Not suprisingly, he was a four-year member of Scholars and Athletes Serving Others, and his commitment on and off the field garnered him recognition as a Southern Connecticut Conference Scholar Leader.
As he prepares for his freshman year at Georgia Tech, Brendan is excited to take on new opportunities that come his way. With a quick look back at his life so far, and as humble as ever, he says, “I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life. I would not be where I am today without you.”
With the closing of his camera’s shutter, TED ORBEN captures a moment for himself. “It’s a time for me to pause my constant movement,” he says. Between participating in multiple sports, giving back to communities both near and far, maintaining an excellent academic record and pursuing artistic interests, the Fairfield Warde senior is always on the move.
Soccer, lacrosse and tennis keep Ted busy year-round. This cross-training is more than fitness to him. “Independent sports have taught me self-reliance and resourcefulness,” he explains, “while soccer and lacrosse have taught me how to be a leader on a team.”
Those leadership skills are put to use off the field as well. Ted serves on the school council, is a member of the National Honor Society and is a junior deacon at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. Through his church, he’s been on three service trips to Appalachia. “For me, the most important part of service is about building relationships. When I’m working on houses in Appalachia,” he says, “I am an equal, working with those people toward a common goal. There’s a kind of fulfillment in helping others, and it might seem selfish, but there’s a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.” Focusing on global issues, Ted is the president of the Help to Africa Club at school, which organizes events to raise money for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which provides mosquito nets to children and families at risk for contracting malaria.
He says life, like photography, is about finding the proper balance between light and dark. “What started as a hobby turned into a want, almost a need,” he says. His art, in conjunction with his years of service, has nurtured his compassion for, and understanding of, others. “When you see someone struggling in the shadows, and you have the ability to be happy, you should try to bring some light to their life.”
When she was very young, SRIHITA MEDIBOINA had a knack for puzzles and problem solving. It was a hint of what was to come. Srihita, now a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe, possesses such a talent for mathematics that she has taken every math class that her school has to offer and is now taking classes at Fairfield University. She has also conducted college-level research on economics and statistics with a professor at the university.
“Doing research showed me how statistics could be applied to the real world,” she says. “It showed me that some of the problems that we deal with today—although they can’t be completely eradicated by math—can be analyzed with statistics, and we can come up with possible situations.”
Srihita is also the captain of the Ludlowe math team and recently became a member of the Connecticut State Math Team for the American Regions Math League, an annual competition featuring the nation’s brightest students. She also plays the viola for her high school’s chamber orchestra and is a member of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra.
Srihita even finds time to use her skill in math and science to tutor younger students. “For me, it has been an experience where I get to learn just as much as I get to teach,” she says. “Math has provided a niche for me to explore, and it is fulfilling to know that I might have played a minor role in helping any of my students find that niche.”
Despite all of her outstanding success in high school, Srihita confesses that she is excited for college so she can finally stop worrying about the college process. Looking forward, she says, “Although I will definitely pursue the math route via statistics and applied math, I would love to minor in something like economics on a global level.” Ever-pushing for further academic excellence, she concludes, “I hope I get the opportunity to learn as much as I can.”
Not many people, regardless of their age, can say that they’ve written a book. MARY QUINN has that distinct pleasure. Her young adult novel Thorn in My Side was published in the spring of 2017, just as she was wrapping up her senior year at Fairfield Warde High School.
“It feels amazing, and insane, to be a published author. I never really thought it was that big of a deal either, because there are so many books out there and so many published authors,” she says. “I’m really lucky to have such a huge support group of friends and family, because they’re the ones making it into a huge accomplishment.”
The fact that she was able to balance her writing with her everyday life is an additional accomplishment. She maintains a very strong academic record, was a member of the National Honor Society, was involved in mock trial, band, ballet, Key Club and other activities. Most notably, after a close friend’s family was impacted by cancer, Mary was inspired to become a Relay for Life team captain. “It’s so moving to see why everyone is there. It always reminds me why we have to help people,” she says. “You can see first-hand how many lives have been affected by the cause you’re fighting for.”
Although Mary is passionate about giving back and being involved, it was a true challenge. “It was a lot of being completely overwhelmed and having to delete Netflix off my phone, honestly. I did a lot of my homework in class, usually not the class for which the work was assigned, and used any free time I had to sleep or get more done.” She prioritized schoolwork by importance, smuggled food into rehearsals and consumed many cups of coffee.
Mary is poised to continue at a breakneck pace. Now in her freshman year at Wheaton College, majoring in writing, she has already learned an important lesson that many authors know about writing: “The process is really hard, and sometimes incredibly tedious, but worth it.”
ETHAN FURMAN might want to thank his siblings. When they signed up for piano lessons, Ethan’s parents figured he might as well learn to play also. Then just seven years old, Ethan had other plans. “I was bored and wanted to play rock drums, which looked much cooler,” he says. “Once my parents saw how much time I was wasting playing video game drums on Rock Band, they were convinced to buy me some real drums.”
Everyone quickly recognized his prodigious musical talents.
“I think the amount of expressiveness that you can get out of any instrument is what has inspired me to explore the world of music and find new sounds,” says Ethan. Now a junior at Greens Farms Academy (GFA), he has since taught himself not only the drums, but also saxophone, clarinet, harmonica, piano and melodica as well.
In addition to his normal high school studies, in which he has earned honors every semester, Ethan attends a precollege program to further study jazz drums and saxophone. “The Manhattan School of Music has really changed my perception on jazz and music as a whole. Never before have I been put in such an intensive environment,” he says. The prestigious, audition-only program takes place all day every Saturday, and students are expected to practice on their own time. “I think it’s taught me to be more aware of what’s happening in the music world, and it has showed me that there is always more to learn and discover.”
With all of his early success—and the pressure that comes with that—Ethan’s family helps keep him grounded. “My family has always supported me throughout my journey as a musician. No matter what instrument or genre I am delving into, they are always willing to give support and wisdom. One value they have instilled in me is to be humble about learning, knowing there is always more to know and discover in your field.”