TEAK Class: 11
High School: Riverdale Country Day School
College: Amherst College
On Wednesday, May 30th we celebrated the Class of 2018’s (Class 11) College Graduation and their completion of 9 years of TEAK! Borun Sun, Class 11’s student representative, addressed the room of classmates, family members, Board and Next Generation Board members, and staff. Read his speech below:
Good evening everyone,
Thank you all for joining us to celebrate this amazing milestone. Wow, how the time flies, it feels like just yesterday we were celebrating our high school graduation. And here we are today, gathered together as college graduates and everyone who made this all possible.
Amherst recently launched a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $625 million dollars over the next five years. Not only did they raise over half the money during the first weekend of the campaign, an anonymous donor ended up gifting the school with $100 million. Now, if I had $100 million, I probably would’ve done something very different with it. I would probably buy like 10 houses, a private jet, maybe donate to TEAK…But that got me thinking, if I become rich and famous in the future, fingers crossed, how would I donate $100 million. I thought about Riverdale, my high school, but that would be a waste considering they already have more money than they know what to do with. Then, I thought about Amherst. Maybe I’d get a building named after me like, “The Borun Sun Dormitory.” No, that’s not a good idea. Finally, I thought about TEAK and the impact it has had on my life.
I know it’s cliché to say this, but there’s no question that I would not be where I am today without TEAK. TEAK has helped enrich my life and open my mind. Through TEAK, I have gained exposure to so many different people from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Because of TEAK, I am a more well-rounded and understanding person.
Before TEAK, I was stuck in a bubble. I was unaware of the vast amount of opportunity that was available to me and the amount of potential that I could unlock. I was so stuck in the environment I had grown up in because I had known nothing else. I think the anecdote that best characterizes this occurred during my high school orientation. Someone had asked me where I lived and up until then, all I had heard everyone else answer was, “Upper East” or “Upper West Side.” So, when it was my turn to answer, I thought about it. Well, I live in Washington Heights and that is uptown and on the west side of Manhattan. So, naturally, I answered, “the Upper West Side.” My friend seemed pleasantly surprised by my response and followed up with, “Me too, what street?” I answered, “171st.” He looked puzzled by my answer and then finally said, “Oh, so like the Upper, upper west side.” At that point, I did not know the Upper West Side was a specific neighborhood in the City. It was not until much later did I realize that I had embarrassed myself.
This is one of my favorite memories because it reminds me of how much I’ve changed and how far I’ve come as a person all because of TEAK. I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this is how deeply and genuinely grateful I am for TEAK. TEAK has really changed my life for the better and I cannot express how thankful I am for TEAK and its passionate, dedicated, and loving staff members. But I don’t think I need to tell you all how impactful TEAK is. I know you’ve all experienced this, first hand as well, and gone through transformations of your own. We’ve all taken advantage of the opportunity that TEAK has provided us. We’ve traveled the world, pursued our passions, explored all of our academic interests and I know we’ll all continue to chase our dreams, the dreams that were made possible by TEAK.
Congratulations to Class 11, the Class of 2018. We did it!