Sadie has participated in multiple Putney programs over the years, beginning with our middle school program in Ecuador & the Galápagos. She has also joined Language Spain, our Pre-College program in Vermont, and most recently Oxford Academia and Pre-College at Colby College. She wrote her college essay about the impact of her experience with Putney in Vermont. This fall she’ll be attending University of Maryland College Park to study speech pathology and theater.

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When walking through a craft store, the last thing someone might think of when they see a glue stick is “I’m going to put this on my face.” However, this is exactly what I find myself doing as I sit in front of my mirror slathering the thick, sticky, purple glue stick all over my eyebrows. This is the planning stage. When I let my creative thoughts run wild. As the layers of glue dry, I use this time to craft my next drag look. Questions like: “How can I transform into the version of myself that I see in my head?” and “What rhinestones will I put on my face tonight?” cloud my brain. Not only will I get to become a new person, but I also get to see my inner self on the outside. Above all, I am excited to see how I can use my voice.

Struggling through middle school and high school, I never realized that the lack of having a voice was at the heart of my insecurities. Constantly being silenced by bullies and pressure from social media took a toll on my self-esteem. Once I started high school, I was able to reflect on what I was really suppressing. Luckily, that very next summer, I went to Vermont on a pre-college program. I had no expectations, let alone the belief that I would meet my best friend. We formed a bond that would last a lifetime. Although she is only a few months older than me, I look up to her. When I first met her, the concept of drag seemed like a fantasy that I could never participate in. Months later when I went to visit her, we stayed up until three o’clock in the morning doing our makeup and getting dressed up. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I fully released any worries about the day or future that were in my head. I was completely in the present.

We then took pictures and soon after, I wanted to share my voice with the world. I created an Instagram account that now has over 140 followers (and counting). Sharing this true, pure version of myself and using my voice filled a void in my life that I didn’t even know I was missing. This was the feeling that I wanted to give to other people. A voice. A liberation of their inner thoughts and feelings on the outside in a way that they can share with the world.

I began brainstorming about different ways that I could make this impact on other people’s lives. I remembered back to a theatre convention that I attended where I met a woman who specializes in vocal health. The dots began to connect and it all seemed right. All roads seemed to lead to speech therapy.

Previously, choosing a career path had felt so daunting because of my variety of interests. I always felt like I had to give something up in order to be successful. But with this, it is different. By specializing in speech therapy for the actor and singer, I am able to combine my love of theatre, medicine, and most of all, giving people the tools that they can use to find their own voices. Additionally, combining my skills in Spanish would allow me to give people who speak English as a second language access to speech therapy. I would use my background in speech for opportunities like helping kids who have faced developmental delays due to Covid, or even include my passion for politics because every political figure has a speech therapist (or could benefit from one). Not only did I find my voice from a glue stick, but I also found that I want to give others access to the voice that is already inside of them.

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