WHS Class of 2022: Sarah Lappi, Community Service, Choreography and Canada
Weston High School will graduate the amazing Class of 2022 on Friday, June 3 at 6 pm on the Town Green. They are amazing because of how they weathered a pandemic that cut short sophomore year, changed junior year between hybrid and in-person masked learning, and started their senior year with masks and testing. They gave up study-abroad opportunities, cut short or changed athletic seasons, and had harsh restrictions on theatrical and musical efforts. And yet, here they are–a resilient, wonderful class of 159* students, many of whom the Owl knows personally. In this final week before graduation, the Owl will highlight just a few of the many–I only wish I had thought of this earlier. Meet some of the WHS Class of 2022.
The Owl met Sarah Lappi three years ago now in the heyday of the Wes-TEN. We were on the hunt for a town hedgehog who would usurp the role of Lincoln’s woodchuck Mrs G, who saw her shadow or not and was a harbinger of spring. We, at the Wes-TEN, decided that hedgehogs were bettter and having discovered that Sarah had adopted one, we immediately got in touch. We met Sir Quilliam of Weston, or Quilly, shortly thereafter, and our Town Manager Leon Gaumond dubbed him the official hedgehog of Weston.
Sarah then stepped up during the Quaran-TEN to help judge the “Who Wore it Better” segment of the show–managing to stay neutral as HS Principal Peri and MS Assistant Principal Oates had a costume showdown.
Sarah has so many interests — and a quietly enthusiastic nature that appeals to kids. One Owlet knew her before I did because Sarah interned in stage management, assistant directing and assistant choreographing at the middle school. During the pandemic she created a zoom theatre class for kids aged 7-10 which was hugely successful and gave a lot of isolated small kids the chance to have some fun and interact. Last April, she helped with an in-person drama camp through Weston Friendly Society.
The Owl blames Canada for stealing one of our best, but feels certain that a roadtrip is in her near future, also because another favorite WHS grad, Gui Pereira, goes to Concordia right down the street. As a conscientous objecter to anything involving “curds,” the Owl outright refuses to even LOOK at poutine, but has big plans to wave flags with tree leaves on them.
Owl: When did you come to Weston schools and did you have any favorite teachers/administrators?
I came to Weston schools in 5th grade in 2014. There have been a few teachers/administration who have supported me tremendously throughout my experience in Weston Schools. The ones who have meant the most have been my middle school guidance counselor Ms. Aiello, my sophomore year Spanish teacher and head of the language department Mrs. Baker, my Junior year Chemistry teacher Ms. Gay, and the High School Principal Mr. Peri.
Owl: What do you think is the best thing about attending Weston schools?
I think one of the best things about attending Weston Schools is the range of clubs and activities. I have managed to get involved with theatre in elementary and middle school as well as Active Minds, Student ambassadors, the anti bullying and anti harassment club, and start my own American Sign Language club while at the high school. All of these opportunities have been amazing and the variety of clubs and activities we have is so special!
Owl: What do you feel are your biggest accomplishments from your years at WHS?
I think some of my biggest accomplishments from my years at WHS are being nominated for and winning the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, getting into my top university choice (McGill University), and being able to make an impact on my school and community. As for McGill, I worked really hard all through high school to maintain good grades while having school-life balance. Being able to do what I love such as theatre, philanthropy, running my nail art platforms, etc outside of school was such an important thing to continue to be able to do throughout the school year. Having worked so hard and also been able to do what I love it was a huge accomplishment to see that it paid off and that I got into my dream school.
Owl: You have done a lot of charitable work in your years in Weston and I know most of it was NOT “just for the community service hours.” Can you tell the readers a little of what you have done, and how you won RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) and what you did with Youth in Philanthropy?
The RYLA award is given to students who have shown great leadership and effort towards helping and supporting our community. It is something that students had to be nominated for by people in the community who have whether it be school faculty, parents, or residents. In my RYLA award ceremony, the person awarding it to me announced that I had the most nominations for this award than he had ever seen with 7 nominations!
As for the activities that got me there, I have been involved in programs such as Youth in Philanthropy and the Youth in Philanthropy Junior Board run by the Metrowest Foundation. This program teaches teens all about philanthropy, grant writing, grant decisions, grant defenses, fundraising, etc. At the end of our program, we got to choose two different non profit organizations to give two $5,000 grants to. We had to read through grant requests and choose which non profit we thought our money would be best to go toward. We had to fundraise for as much of the $5,000 as we could, while the foundation would provide the rest. It was a super informative and fun program that really helped me understand the importance of nonprofit organizations and helping to fundraise and donate to them. I also was involved with different clubs around the school that brought awareness to bullying and mental health in Weston. These groups ran projects and events that helped de-stigmatize mental health and help people understand the effects of bullying and harassment on others. [Ed. As always, Sarah is too modest–she is a co-president of Active Minds, an organization the Owl covered last March].
Owl: Why Canada? Yes or no to poutine, where the Owl’s only accepted answer is “non, merci”?
I mean… the $2,750 tuition might have had something to do with it…. LOL. I am a Canadian citizen and definitely wanted to be able to experience living there at some point. The culture, the people, the city life in Montreal, it’s all just so amazing! And yes, of COURSE poutine! With some beaver tails and timmies! Can’t go wrong! [Ed. Owl: whaaaaat? No. Terrible stuff.]
Owl: What are you planning to study, and what are you looking forward to doing with your free time?
In Montreal the night life seems really fun, but I am going on a premed track so…. I think I’ll have to kiss my free time goodbye! However if I do find myself with any free time I have already made a few friends in my year and we all really enjoy board games and are hoping to start up a board game night at least once a month, maybe even weekly. I would also love the chance to explore the city a bit and do some shopping (mainly at Roots and Le James). Old Montreal is gorgeous so I would love to spend time there when I can!
Owl: Any plans for hedgehogs in the future?
As many know I did have a hedgehog named Quilliam who sadly passed away in November 2021. I was planning to take him with me to university, although I don’t think he would have liked the Montreal winters much. After having sweet Quilliam I realized that hedgehogs are my kind of pet. I’m in on campus residence my first year however am planning on moving off for my second year of university. Ideally if I can find a pet friendly apartment I would get another little companion to hang around with me. As long as I feel I can manage school and take care of a pet, I would love to have a hedgehog by my side as I complete my undergraduate degree! Although I think the university would have to rename… I’m thinking McQuill…. Haha!
Owl: Do you actually know any words to the Canadian National Anthem or just “O Canada” like the rest of us?
I know a solid verse, going to have to work on the rest of the anthem!
The Owl, the Wes-TEN and Weston itself will miss Sarah who promises to come back often and not bring us poutine, but sing us Canadian songs and end all sentences with “eh?” Best of luck to you, Sarah, and fly high!
*159 students enrolled as of October 2021