By Shannon Sigafoos

Under a sky appropriately glowing as the sun dipped below the horizon, four seniors stepped up to a microphone at the McCartney Amphitheater and shared stories of apprehension, new experiences, fitting in, and preparing to move on to post-Lafayette life.

Lulu Kirtchuk ‘21, Ayllin Schoengut Hecker ‘21, Lola Dada ‘21, and Zach Whitney ’21, each nominated by the Lafayette community to participate in the fifth annual Senior Voices event, took very different paths to college but ultimately took the same path of self-discovery over the last four years.

Lulu Kirtchuk ‘21, Ayllin Schoengut Hecker ‘21, Lola Dada ‘21, and Zach Whitney ’21 take part in the 2021 Senior Voices event

Ayllin Schoengut Hecker ’21, Zach Whitney ’21, Lola Dada ’21 and Lulu Kirtchuk ’21 pose at the Senior Voices 2021 event.

Excerpts from each of their  speeches:

Ayllin Schoengut Hecker ‘21
“They say that people will forget what you said but will always remember how you made them feel. It is a core human need to feel seen and heard. So, regardless of whether you have some years left at Lafayette or are also going out into the world, when people look at you, make sure they see your most raw self. When people listen to you, make sure they hear your most unapologetic self. And likewise, when you look at and listen to people, try your best to be a well of openness. I can bet you that it’ll mean everything to them—especially those who need it the most—when you make them feel like they’re the most important person in the world in that one moment. And lastly, be brave, and say ‘yes.’”

Lola Dada ‘21
“I craved change, but I didn’t believe I had the tools necessary to acquire it. But I was wrong. Never have I ever, more than on campus, realized the beauty and importance of a smile and a wave. It is here where I began again. I started there and I was able to meet some beautiful people who have departed just like I will in the coming weeks. Sometimes when you have a role on this campus, you tend to get stuck in it. Don’t let that happen. You should constantly remind yourself of the places you want to go and the spaces you want to see yourself in. Remember the vision rather than settling for the now.”

Lulu Kirtchuk ‘21
“It’s OK to be uncomfortable. In fact, you should be uncomfortable. It’s also OK to let others on this small campus speak about what they believe your experience is; that’s not your problem. If I had a dollar for every time I heard somebody call me mean, aggressive, or crazy because I simply spoke my mind or took an action that made them question themselves, I would have enough to pay for the cap and gown for graduation. The truth is, everyone is fighting their own battles, and sometimes you get caught in other people’s crossfire. You are here to build you, and once you are built, you can help build others. You have the power to do that.”

Zach Whitney ’21
“While working with Admissions, I’ve been asked to describe the type of people at Lafayette so many times, and I’ve always been stuck until I found myself saying ‘The Lafayette Quirkiness.’ And that really stuck with me because it’s so true.”

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