Applause roared after The Haverford School Notables walked onto the stage. But the standing ovation was not for the singing group, but for one of its members, Sixth Former Damian Ferraro, who had just given a Reflection about his late godfather, Mr. Michael Stairs. Ferraro shared a powerful talk about valuing and appreciating your loved ones, using his own experiences to emphasize his point.
“Ever since Michael retired, Haverford created an annual concert fund in his honor,” Ferraro said. “It was originally planned as a way to help kids, like Michael did, pursue their passion for music.”
Still, Ferraro wanted to add Michael’s personal touch back into the concerts.
“I lived with this guy for nine years of my life, and he basically turned me into the person I am today,” Ferraro said. “He passed on so much to me. and there was so much that he did for me and my family that it would practically be a crime if I did not say anything about him before I graduated from Haverford.”
And add a personal touch he did. His reflection touched and brought tears to both the students and faculty.
“After Damian’s reflection, I felt like Michael Stairs was someone I knew on a personal level even though I never got the opportunity to meet him,” Fourth Former Render Ford said.
Fifth Former Ethan Chan agrees with Ford’s sentiment.
“As someone who also has an affinity for music, Damian’s homage to Mr. Stairs really touched me,” Chan said. “I also lost my former piano instructor not too long ago, so his reflection definitely spoke to me.”
“I thought it was phenomenal,” finance and history teacher Mr. Brian Long said. “I think that Damian really set a standard for what a reflection can be. He used the stage in such a way that I would love to see other students use it and give Reflections of that quality.”
Dean of Students Mr. Luqman Kolade felt the same way.
“I thought it was great. It was really well organized and put together.”
“We all have powerful adults and people who shape who we are, but I think a lot of kids don’t really think about it that much…And frankly, I didn’t as well until Michael passed away.”Damian Ferraro ’22
Throughout his talk, Ferraro emphasized a theme: valuing others in our daily lives.
“We all have powerful adults and people who shape who we are, but I think a lot of kids don’t really think about it that much,” Ferraro said. “And frankly, I didn’t as well until Michael passed away. This is not a really selfish thing for us—we have a lot going on, but Michael passing away made me reflect and think about who I was and why.”