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Groton, MA – On Friday, the weather finally cooperated as Lawrence Academy, this time under beautiful early morning blue skies, again, welcomed re-visitors – recently admitted students and their families – back to campus.
“I remember sitting right over there at my revisit day and being in absolute shock after seeing LA,” said Cuinn Lauten ’17 to LA’s accepted students and their families as they sat in the Dining Hall. “You should all be so proud that you’ve put yourselves in a position to be here today, but as you enjoy the moment, think of the people who have helped to get you to this point.”
As Lauten reminisced, the senior used those memories to paint a proper picture of his own LA experience.
“I’m not going to exaggerate or sell LA to you,” he explained. “I feel a responsibility to accurately present the school that I’ve come to love so much, all through the lens that I’ve seen it through over the last four years.
“Personally, I don’t think LA needs to be sold to you for you to be sold on it,” he added. “You’ve already been drawn in; instead I’d like to share a more personal experience through a set of moments that have really shaped my development here.
“Now these won’t be all the biggest or flashiest moments, but rather than ones that I think embody the journey I’ve taken at Lawrence,” he said.
For Lauten, one of those moments was one of his first on the campus in Groton, Mass.
“Lawrence Academy was the twelfth and final prep school I visited,” he admitted. “I was immediately infatuated by the campus, community, and every other ‘selling point that has drawn you guys here today.
“As I exited the Admissions Office, I felt it. I turned to my mom before the door even closed behind me and told her. This is where I wanted to be.
“Skipping ahead again, I found myself at revisit day. As I listened to the different speakers and sat in on classes my resolve increased,” he said. “I knew that LA was truly the place for me.”
Among the facets that brought Lauten to Powderhouse Road was the amazing diversity of classes, activities, and programs offered on campus. In turn, Cuinn also said that he sought to find something to offer back to the school.
“It made me want to be active in the community; something that I think LA is exceptional at,” he said. “This isn’t a place where teachers are constantly nagging you to get involved…but instead, it’s a place that makes you want to get involved.
“I quickly found myself giving tours, going to club meetings, joining the Faculty Student Senate and, eventually, standing here today.
“Speaking to other students, many of my friends have had the same kinds of moments- feeling as though they craved involvement and having sought it out on their own.”
Lauten also spoke to LA’s ability to siphon previously untold scholarly achievement.
“The fall of my junior year…I walked into Junior English with David Smith and took my spot next to two of my best friends,” he said. “I was sitting there for more than twenty minutes before I realized that I had been the only person answering the questions that Mr. Smith was asking.
“It wasn’t because my peers didn’t want to answer; I was just so excited to actually know the answers that they would burst out of me. Mr. Smith held me after class and asked me what I thought about moving up to Honors English.
“I told him I would love to, and suddenly had a little bit of pep in my step.”
That pep translated into a new outlook on his studies.
“I had never been in an honors class at LA, but overnight I felt like I had turned into a scholar,” he explained. “I joke about it a little bit, but looking back I think that was a moment that caused a real shift in my work ethic and my general attitude towards school.
“I found myself achieving to levels that I never had before, not only in English but in all of my classes.
“That small moment in Mr. Smith’s class has made all the difference for me over the past couple of years,” he said.
And now, as he looks to graduation, Cuinn’s thoughts remain on the most recent of his special LA moments.
“After I tore my ACL I was so thankful that my trip was such an easy going and relaxing one,” he joked. “Hiking and biking through the mountains and volcanoes of Hawaii.
“Obviously, it was beautiful and a great experience because of what I had a chance to see and do, but what made it so special for me was the opportunity for reflection. One of our stops was a peninsula on the Big Island, which represented the southernmost tip of the United States. The natural beauty was incredible. As we hiked ahead of our teachers and guide, some of us came upon a small weather tower with a ladder that went up about forty feet.
“Although it’s completely unlike me, I had a strong urge to climb the tower,” he continued. “Other people in our group made their ways up, and I decided I had to do it. You might be asking yourself how someone with a torn ACL could decide to climb up a forty-foot ladder, and I myself still don’t quite understand. But once I got up I was stunned by how beautiful and serene the ocean was. Beams of sunlight passed through the clouds onto the water, and I almost immediately was struck by a feeling of closeness to my surroundings.
“Now what I’m about to say is something that a month ago I would have rolled my eyes at too, but I had an epiphany while I was up there. The feeling was a general sense of clarity, and I realized how thankful I was for everything that I had and the opportunities I’ve been given. The overwhelming feeling I had was my gratefulness to be a member of the Lawrence Academy Community. The bonds I have made are so strong, and the opportunities I’d be given were exceedingly meaningful.”
With that, Lauten reminded the crowd of his promise but made sure to point out what he believed should be their choice.
“Again, I’m not here to exaggerate or sell anything, I just want to represent to you what this school has meant to me,” he stressed in closing. “I’m so grateful that I’ve had the opportunities at LA that I’ve had, and hope that next year you’ll begin to reap the rewards of being a Lawrence Academy student.”