Welcoming six new Warrior Words columnists
As the summer ends and new school year begins, The Bulletin welcomes a new group of Warrior Words columnists.
The words of Wilton High School seniors Maddie Burke, Lily Kepner, Tyler Zengo, Alexandra Myers, Chloe Mandel and Teena Moya will grace The Bulletin’s schools page each week beginning Thursday, Sept. 6. But who are they?
Maddie said her friends describe her as “busy all the time,” and that’s because she’s passionate about the activities to which she devotes her time and energy.
At Wilton High School, Maddie is a member of the National Honor Society, Top Inclusion Models, and was recently appointed social chair of the Student Body Executive Board. She is also a three-year member of the girls varsity basketball team and will be captain this winter.
“When school days get hectic, practice or a game after school provides a great way to de-stress,” she said.
Outside of school, Maddie is not only a Wilton SafeRides volunteer, but also tutors and mentors children from Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport through the Family & Children’s Agency’s ASPIRE program.
In her free time, Maddie said she enjoys “venturing into NYC, trying new restaurants or undiscovered coffee shops, or watching movies” with family and friends.
“Anyone who knows me well will also attest to my love for Taylor Swift,” said Maddie, who “devoted more than a few nights this past summer following her tour.”
“Writing for Warrior Words has been a huge dream of mine since freshman year,” said Lily, “and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Lily said writing has been a “huge passion” of hers ever since she was “a little girl.”
Today, Lily pursues her passion by writing for the school’s newspaper, The Forum. She is also president of Wilton High School’s National Honor Society.
“When I’m not writing, you can find me riding horses or helping with riding lessons through the Wilton Pony Club,” said Lily. “As [an] undyingly loyal horse girl, my mood immediately improves when I enter a barn and venture through the trails.”
Lily said she spends “every possible moment” outdoors in the summer, and volunteers as a Wilton Children’s Theater intern in the fall and spring.
She is also an active member of Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where she teaches kindergarteners and participates in the church’s annual mission trips.
“On the weekends, you can find me working at Local Soul in Wilton, where I will happily help you find the perfect accessory,” she said.
Tyler said he pursues and enjoys activities and programs that “have rewarding outcomes” and “entertain [his] teenage mind.”
At Wilton High School, Tyler is a member of the Organic Garden Club and National Honor Society. He also runs outdoor track and cross country, and will be captain of the school’s team this fall.
“These clubs and athletics allow me to forget about the chaos of academics and enjoy the moment,” said Tyler.
Outside of school, Tyler volunteers at Connecticut Legal Service, a pro bono law firm that helps low-income families in the Stamford area. He is also a Wilton SafeRides volunteer.
“With the leftover free time that I have, I travel to Vermont to ski and compete on the Okemo Mountain Freestyle Ski Team,” said Tyler. “When I’m not competing, I spend time with my friends either exploring forest trails or venturing into town.”
As a Warrior Words columnist, Alexandra said she “cannot wait” to write about her Wiltonian experiences. Alexandra has lived in Wilton most of her life and has been a volunteer EMT with the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC) since November 2017.
“I absolutely love working on the ambulance,” she said. “It’s such an incredible way to not only geek out over medical science, but also make an impact in the community.”
At Wilton High School, Alexandra is active in the Little Theater Department and a member of the Madrigals choir. “I’ve participated in pretty much every play, musical, improv or variety show they would let me since my sophomore year,” she said.
“My freshman year, I made a weak attempt to be ‘sporty,’ but when I found out that I was too light to properly pole vault, my short-lived athletic career came to a screeching halt, and I found my home on stage.”
Alexandra said she is also a “solidly mediocre” self-taught guitarist. “I have yet to be booed off stage, so I guess that’s something,” she said.
Chloe is the youngest of three sisters, “the proud owner” of a Chihuahua mix named Ziggy, and “one of the highlights” of her life, she said, has been her travels.
“I lived in Nigeria for a year at age 11, when my dad worked at a school there,” said Chloe. “Four years later, I traveled in Europe with my mom and sister while taking freshman year classes through an online program.”
Not only has traveling given her “a unique worldview,” said Chloe, but it’s also strengthened her appreciation for her “real-life high school” experience.
At Wilton High School, Chloe is secretary of the French Honors Society, an editor of the school’s newspaper, and a violinist in the orchestra. This year, she will also be co-president of the school’s Recycling Club.
After school, Chloe works at Architectural Designs in Wilton. She also interns at Today’s Industrial Living Landscapes, a nonprofit devoted to community-based brownfield regeneration.
Her hobbies include “building websites” and “searching for the best desserts in Fairfield County,” she said.
When she’s not “pondering the meaning of life” in her bedroom,” Teena said, she can be found “living the dream and scooping the dream” at Scoops, “commanding the backstage of the Clune Center as the Wilton High School stage manager,” or “driving through the roads of Wilton at 2 a.m. as a Wilton SafeRides captain.”
Teena said she also loves to travel and enjoys hanging out with friends, shopping at thrift stores, “painting mediocre shapes, squiggles and lines as an OK artist,” and watching new films at the movie theater “as an amateur movie critic.”
If she’s not doing any of the above, Teena said, there’s a chance she’s busy “showing off [her] singing and dancing skills at a concert … or hurriedly reading and taking notes for [her] next test as a typical high school student.”