Tapping into the Brotherhood to Travel Overseas
You just graduated from high school, what's next?
There are so many options for recently graduated seniors upon heading off to college. Two Avon Old Farms School alumni, Beaudan Szuluk '19 and Connor Reynolds '19, decided to take a Eurotrip. Initially, Connor was not receptive to the idea of traveling post-graduation. However, after some thought, he told me, “there is no better time in life than now to see the world, so I came around to the idea of it. I thought that it would be great momentum for us [he and Beau] to continue our friendship after Avon into the next stages of life.”
At Avon, the CT private school for boys, Beau served as a two-year dormitory monitor, the captain of the Varsity Lacrosse Team, a Big Brother, and a Dean’s List student. Connor was also a two-year dormitory monitor, the Captain of the Varsity Soccer Team, and a Dean’s List student. Both of them were two of our top student leaders who have left a lasting legacy upon the school community.
The Brotherhood Abroad
Anyone who has traveled before knows that the best way to experience a new place is to do as the locals do. Therefore, before departing for Geneva, Switzerland—their first stop on the journey—Matt Kowalchick '99, one of Beau’s lacrosse coaches, reached out to his good friend, Matt Trautman '01, who lives in Geneva. Upon their arrival to Geneva, Matt met up with the boys, took them out to dinner and showed them Geneva from a ‘local’s point of view.’
"It was really great spending time with another Avon Alum who lives and works in Geneva. As a tourist in an unfamiliar country, it is a privilege to have guidance, and it was just an added bonus that Matt graduated from Avon, so immediately we had a lot in common. His willingness to take us out to dinner and spend time with us really confirmed that the Brotherhood spans generations of Avonians.”
Mini Reunion in London
After their time in Geneva, Beau and Connor traveled to London. In London, the boys hit most of the popular tourist destinations like the London Eye and the Natural History Museum. However, one of the highlights during their stay was a family style meal with a bunch of Avon guys. The boys met up with fellow graduates, Trey DiBona '19, Jared O’Hare '19, Kai Sulkin '19, Ricky Zhao '19, and Will Aaron '19. The group all got to spend some time together reflecting on their Avon experiences. Certainly, this proved to be some great momentum for the class of 2019 as they will be keeping in touch for years to come.
When Beau and Connor told me that they would be visiting London, I urged them to take a train into Oxford and check out the University. As a former student at Oxford University and Avon Alum myself, I was excited for Beau and Connor to experience Oxford. I never expected both of them to actually take me up on my offer of connecting them with my best friend Izzie—who is a medical student—upon their arrival. However, they did with excitement!
After the trip, I sat down with Connor and asked him to recount his experience in Oxford. He explained:
“We met Izzie off the train and quickly felt a familial connection. She took us all around the city of Oxford including into the college that she attended with Mr. Rothmann. She also took us into the Bodleian Library. Both were experiences that we would not have had the opportunity to embark upon had it not been for Izzie’s guidance.”
Overall, the boys had a wonderful experience in Europe by successfully navigating the Avon Old Farms Alumni Network.
There is no question that the way of the world is dictated by networking and relationships. It is never too early for students to learn about the importance of this. When asking Beau what he and Connor learned during the trip, Beau responded by saying, “it is amazing how small the world becomes when we tap into our personal networks. It is so cool to see how so many doors of opportunity open up when you develop and maintain relationships.” Both Beau and Connor have proven that networking does not have to be stressful. There are so many self-help/”How to Network” books out there, however, if you establish meaningful relationships at a young age the art of networking becomes natural.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Avon Old Farms Class of 2011