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Featured Alumnus: Aaron Aryee ’14

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Featured Alumnus: Aaron Aryee ’14

Featured Alumnus: Aaron Aryee ’14

The main goal of Avon Old Farms is to develop boys into men of strong moral character. While this primarily happens within the formative four or five years of high school, it's a lifelong commitment. In turn, Avonians are members of the Avon community for life, and their development continues long after they walk through Alumni Gate. 

Aaron Aryee '14 understands that this also means giving back to the institution that gave him so much—continuing to be an active member of our community. “Avon has a very special place in my heart, and I’m sure many other alumni and parents feel the same way.”

Aaron’s Avon journey began his sophomore year of high school. A Hartford native, Aaron attended public high school in Bristol for his freshman year through a Capitol Region Education Council program. He says this wasn’t a good fit and he knew he wanted more out of his educational experience. That’s when a teacher and mentor put him in touch with the AOF Admissions team. After officially enrolling, it still took a while for him to get acclimated to the Avon community. “At the start of my time here I began to feel lost. I didn’t really want to wear a tie every day or go to every Morning Meeting. I had to really decide what I wanted. Eventually I had to buy in. I decided I needed to do these things I didn’t want to do in order to eventually do the things I wanted to do in life.”

It's hard to feel lost for long when you’re a part of the Brotherhood. Aaron credits meeting lifelong friends like Mickoy Nichol ’14 and mentors like coach and economics teacher Tim Roller with helping him settle in. Nichol, who now works for the school’s Alumni and Development Office, says this is a very common experience for Avonians. “It's always great to see our boys connect and begin to create relationships. Their ability to work together and direct each other toward a common vision to accomplish a goal is truly inspiring. The Avon Brotherhood truly does fuel our boys to do great things, but most importantly, it teaches them important lessons such as how to be selfless,” shared Nichol. 

Like many unsure students before and after him, Aaron eventually embraced the full experience. He was a dorm monitor in both Elephant and Brown. He was a tri-varsity athlete in football, basketball, and track and field. He was a member of the chorale and part of the Network Club. 

Aaron was a standout wide receiver for the Winged Beavers, winning an Erickson League championship and catching the attention of multiple college program coaches. He would eventually join the Bryant University Bulldogs where he would become an integral member of their team. His senior year, he averaged 18.1 yards per catch including a 100-yard game against No. 15 New Hampshire. Off the field, he was successful as well. In 2018, he graduated with a degree in business administration. 

In his final semester, Aaron enrolled in a sales class for no other reason than to satisfy a credit requirement. It turned out to be the first step in a series of events that have brought him to where he is now in life. “Things just fell into place. That’s kind of been my life story starting with Avon.” The final portion of his sales class was a career fair-type event, where representatives from several companies were present including Dell Technologies. “I did well in that process. I was given an application to fill out then and there. I took a position at Dell and entered corporate America.”

Since then, Aaron has climbed the ranks. He was promoted to an outside sales rep position and was stationed in Washington D.C. working with high-profile clients. “I got a little homesick down there.” Now, Aaron works as a rep covering New York City and Long Island. He’s closer to home, and closer to the school he credits for much of his success. “Just attending Avon changed the course of my life. My time at Avon most definitely helped me find success later.”

It's this feeling of gratitude to Avon and a lifelong membership in the community that inspired Aaron to accept an invitation to return to the Farm as a guest speaker for the school’s Compass program. The Compass program was introduced last year as a way to provide real, sustaining, moral, and spiritual direction—to help students develop and use a “moral compass.” Compass meetings take place regularly throughout the year. Every Wednesday morning, students gather in the Susan Casey Brown Auditorium to hear a speech from a faculty member, an alumnus, or another guest speaker. Each speech provides a personal anecdote from the speaker’s life that showcases what being a good man means and/or the importance of morals and conviction. Just like a typical Chapel service or Vespers, the community joins together in song during Compass, always concluding with “Men of Avon.”

This past Wednesday, Aaron returned to serve as a speaker, accepting an invitation from Associate Head of School, and Aaron’s former geometry teacher, Robert Whitty ’87 P’16. “I was terrible at geometry, but he never gave up on me. He gave me a call asking if I’d like to speak. He said he thought the students would benefit from hearing about my experience.”

Aaron explains why he accepted the invite, “I know there will be a kid in that audience or even a faculty member just starting that feels lost like I did. I want them to know this place will have an impact on their lives, changing it for the better.”

A captivated Brown Auditorium listened to Aaron share his personal story about his journey to Avon, and how it changed his life. “This is the story about a young kid from Hartford, Connecticut, whose life was changed by the selflessness of my friends, faculty, and teammates,” Aaron said. “This is a special place.”

Aaron wasn’t the first alumnus to return as a guest speaker for our Compass program, and we know he won’t be the last. Anyone interested in giving their own talk during Compass can reach out to administration or program director Dr. Tim Watt. Whether it’s a funny anecdote, life-lesson, or unique perspective, our community would benefit from your message.