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Meet Recent Kent Alumni

Juju Tardif '17

JujuShe started her college journey at Cornell this fall where she is playing Field Hockey.

What challenges did she face at Kent and what she would tell herself if she could go back to her very first day on campus?
"The most growth came in the classroom during my first year at Kent. I was definitely shy during class time for the first month or so and tried to participate as little as possible. As I got more comfortable, though, I started to get more engaged with discussions..."

And how were those first days at Kent?
"I would probably tell myself not to be nervous about the whole experience. I came early for preseason week, and I think the best part was getting to meet new people. Don't be worried or get caught up in all of your new responsibilities and take the time to have conversations with new people.”


Chris Magnani '17

ChrisChris is now a freshman at Columbia University and a member of Columbia Heavyweight Rowing Team.

What advice does he have for new Kent Lions?
“If I could give advice to my freshman self, I would tell myself to enjoy Kent as much as you could because the four years go by fast. I would also tell myself to join as many clubs and groups as possible and to surround myself with as many faculty members as I could because they are so supportive and will push you towards your fullest potential.”

Don’t ask him to choose just one teacher who made a difference: 
“I can't choose just one teacher, so I'll pick two. The two teachers/coaches that impacted my life the greatest were Mr. Houston and Mr. Wettach. These two acted as my crew coaches for my four years at Kent, and they taught me more about myself than they know. They taught me that hard work pays off and that you may not be the most talented or intelligent person, but you can achieve anything you want in life with the amount of work and dedication you are willing to put in. The quote on the boathouse wall ‘If you're going through hell, keep going,’ will be engraved in my mind forever.”

What advice does he have for student-athletes?
“My athletic growth definitely was a surprise to me at the end of my four years at Kent. Before attending Kent, I was far from an athlete. I played some hockey and was a member of my local mountain biking team, but I was nothing special. My first winter at Kent I met Mr. Houston who was the head crew coach. I have never met a coach as dedicated and supportive as he was. He put so much time and faith in not only the team but also everyone individually. After four years of rowing... I am proud to say that I will be rowing for Columbia University next year, which is something I would have never expected to achieve my freshman year.”

Kaori Yasunaga '17

kaoriWhat was her favorite thing about Kent?
“Meeting and living with people from all over the world, and sharing our thoughts and stories.” 

Who was her favorite teacher at Kent?
“I met so many wonderful teachers at Kent, and it's very hard to choose one, but Mr. Stewart, my drama teacher, influenced me in so many ways. He taught me what it means to follow one's passion, how hard but wonderful it is, and that definitely had a great impact on my dream of becoming a filmmaker.” 

Where does she see herself ten years from now?
“I'm really not sure about my future. I will just have to see where my passion takes me and how far I can really go.” 

Will Roberston '17

WillPhotography, feeling supported, and the art of learning self-reliance.  Life at Kent isn’t just about academics. Students are encouraged to go outside of their comfort zone and learn to as part of a community. Will Robertson ’17 began his college journey at Hobart and William Smith this fall.

What did he learn at Kent?
“At Kent, I surprised myself by taking photography for three out of the four years. It was something I never expected to do, but it showed me how Kent encourages you to do different things, even those outside your comfort zone.”

How did he overcome obstacles?
“An obstacle I overcame at Kent happened during my Sophomore year when I tore my ACL playing Lacrosse. I had never been seriously injured playing a sport before, and while having to go through a nine month surgical and rehab process, I felt more supported by Kent than ever before in my entire life.”

How did he enjoy living, and learning, the Kent way: Temperantia, Fiducia, Constantia (Simplicity of Life, Directness of Purpose, Self-Reliance)?
“The Kent motto was embodied in my experience because I realized that if I did not overcomplicate things and had a purpose for everything, then I only needed to rely on myself to get things done.”

Alina Xiao '17

AlinaElvish lessons, beekeeping, and finding a new home, meet Alina Xiao ’17. Alina is now a freshman at Duke University. 

How did the Kent community impact her experience?
“I love how supportive my teachers were towards interesting and sometimes ridiculous learning possibilities. For instance, I fell in love with "Lord of the Rings" last summer and really wished I could speak cool elvish like the elves in the book. I talked to Mr. McDonough about this dream, and I was simply beyond excited and shocked when he actually gave me an elvish lesson during a conference period. Likewise, as much as I loved honey bees, I knew it was probably a little crazy to bring hives to campus. But Ms. Morris excitedly drove my friends and me to Beekeeper Mike and his beekeeping lessons; Mrs. Russell put a toy bee on my desk with a note saying “Bee Alina!”; Mrs. Voorhees handed me the beekeeping books the day they arrived in the library; Mr. Klingebiel suggested putting the hives at Mountain View Farm… I felt so happy and grateful that teachers from all kinds of departments supported my passion; they absolutely made my bee dream and so many more dreams come true.”

What are her memories from that first day at Kent?
“I still remember my first day at Kent very vividly. That was my second time being in the United States, first time being on the East Coast and my first time be holding Kent with my own eyes. My parents weren’t there. I held my printed letter of acceptance in the Admissions, feeling a little more nervous than excited. I wanted to go home because I knew for a fact that as an international student, I didn’t have a home in this country. Only three years later, as I was walking out of St. Joseph’s Chapel and watching the stars in the valley sky, did I realize, did I crave to go back and tell myself that I wasn’t holding a letter of acceptance in my hand on that very first day at Kent. I was holding a clock that would only tick Kent time for four years, a time that oozes forth in the shape of classes, practices, rehearsals, laughs, tears and many hugs. There were small moments that I thought I would eventually become tired running on a Kent clock; but now, two months after graduation, I know too well how many times I wish to go back to Kent my home and live even just one more day of Kent time."


Adowa Baffoe-Bonnie '17

AdwoaMeet Adwoa Baffoe-Bonnie, Kent Class of 2017. She is beginning her freshman year on the pre-med track at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not everyone starts their journey at Kent as a Freshman. Adwoa came to Kent her Sophomore year.

What if she could go back and give herself one key piece of advice? Simple: get involved!
“I came as a new sophomore and really didn’t do much except for my assigned student job. As soon as I started getting involved on campus, (joining clubs such as FOCUS and Diversity and Culture, tour guiding, helping out on student panels, teaching faculty dance class, helping put together social media posts, becoming a student research assistant) I felt Kent become more and more of a second home for me as I grew closer to the community.”

How did Kent’s motto – Temperantia, Fiducia, Constantia – impact her experience?
“I felt like Directness of Purpose was embodied the most during my time at Kent. I always had an objective to complete whether it was homework or a club meeting or social event and put my best efforts into everything I did. With Kent focused on college prep, everything we did there in some way prepared us for our move into college life, and I feel like I am really prepared.”