Sierra Shippee ’21
Today’s SJA Shining Star is Sierra Shippee ’21. She is in her second term as SJA student government president.
Director of Residential Life Jamie Ryan ’89 described working with Sierra and her role as president:
I meet with Sierra each Tuesday to plan the weekly student government meeting. Sierra remains focused on these principles: maintaining morale among students, promoting the transformational power of leaders to pick others up, and planning things to benefit the school and the community—even if these plans are far outside the proverbial box. The distinction of SJA Shining Star is perfect for Sierra as her star shines bright and is noticed by everybody, except for Sierra herself, who does what she does not for praise but as a result of her altruistic nature.
Sierra works each week to help student leaders get a pulse on what is needed during these times to maintain a sense of connection and normalcy. While this is a daunting challenge for a student leader, she does an amazing job. The two days a week she reads announcements in the live-streamed Chapel allow her to connect with the student body and gives everybody a taste of normalcy, which is so badly needed right now. When somebody puts a less than stellar joke in the announcements, Sierra starts to smile, then she chuckles, and soon every advisory is filled with her infectious laughter.
With so much change and instability, people need to recognize there are leaders they can look toward as models of resilience, kindness, and calmness. Sierra is this model now and was before any of this started. Quite simply, Sierra is the type of person that puts others in a good mood just by being herself.
It was recently announced that Sierra is this year’s recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest. This award recognizes and rewards individuals who possess good citizenship qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, school, and communities. Nominees for the award are selected by teachers and peers.
When asked about Sierra’s leadership, Assistant Headmaster for Campus Life and Varsity Girls’ Soccer Head Coach Beth Choiniere said:
When I think about Sierra, the words that come to mind are thoughtful, genuine, and unshakable—those characteristics not only make her a great teammate, but they also make her a great leader. Sierra is always looking for ways to reach across barriers and seeks out information from not only her peer group but also from her connections throughout the school community. She takes her role as a student leader very seriously and is relentless in her pursuit of keeping our community together, despite the obstacles placed in front of her. Sierra has helped lead the Halo orientation program; it is in that setting that I saw her shine in ways that maybe others do not. She is patient, thoughtful, kind, and always makes it her purpose to be present to the face in front of her. What is amazing about her is how she does all of this while committing to her studies by taking challenging courses and while leading by example on the soccer team.
Thank you to Sierra for providing vital leadership and a calming and positive presence at a time when that is needed most for our students and school community.