Deerfield Alumni (Cooper Pertchik / Dominic Sessa) Visit _2023. 8Deerfield 에서 배우의 꿈을 키워 2023년 개봉된 The Holdovers의 주인공 Dominic Sessa와 Cooper Pertchik이 PrepMaster의 친구들에게 Deerfield Academy의 생생한 이야기를 나누고 즐거운 시간을 보냈습니다!
Alex: “Hey guys, this is Alex. The three of us are here as a recent graduate from Deerfield to share some of our experiences in boarding school. We graduated last May as the class of 2022.” (To Cooper and Dom) “Why don’t we start with a brief introduction?”
Dom: “Hey, my name is Dominic Sessa. I just finished my freshmen year at Carnegie Mellon as part of the acting program.”
Cooper: “Hi, I’m Cooper Pertchick, I go to Tulane as an architect major and am a rising sophomore as well.”
Alex: “Let’s start with how you guys heard about Deerfield, the application process, and what let you decide Deerfield at the end.”
Dom: “Ok, yeah, so my dad went to Lawrenceville, so growing up, I naturally heard about the boarding school world. Looking back, I now realize how big of an impact boarding school has on a person, considering how much my dad talked about boarding school, even after all those years. So, I applied as a regular kid. I studied for the SSAT, wrote my essays, and got my recommendations. Honestly, there wasn’t anything exceptional about me. I played hockey but was recovering from a pretty big injury and had started acting, but it wasn’t noticeable at all, in my opinion. However, during the application process, I had the chance to meet with Mrs. Hynds, the department chair of visual and performing arts. We had multiple conversations, in-person and electronic, about the prospects of my interest in acting, Deerfield’s program, and the general world of theatre. This is something I knew after I was accepted, but apparently, she had made me a priority recruit for the acting program. I was fortunate enough to have a few options at the end, which came down to Lawrenceville and Deerfield. What made me choose Deerfield over Lawrenceville or any other school was its novelty. I had heard about Lawrenceville, had a good knowledge of its dynamics, and knew a few people there. Deerfield was undiscovered territory for me. That’s what drew me. I wanted something new.”
Alex: “That’s a very interesting story, can you tell me more about your experience in the acting program? And as you might have noticed but I believe everyone here is keen to hear about your career, especially with such a grand start like The Holdovers.
Dom: “Yes, absolutely. My childhood sport was hockey. I’ve played it since I was young, but I’ve never been crazy about it, nor was I a star varsity recruit. Then, during middle school, I broke my femur riding a skateboard. With surgery and recovery, hockey was out of the picture for at least the next few years. So, I looked into other extracurricular activities. That’s when I found theatre. As most passions go in real life, I didn’t fall in love with it at first. But. It was fun. So, I pursued it at Deerfield. Working with Mrs. Hynds and preparing for the first show during the fall term of my freshmen year, I started picking up little intricacies that made theatre so appealing to me. I enjoyed making people laugh. Pouring my emotions into a dialogue or a line was a release for me. But I never expected it to make it my professional career. It was just too early. Then, in junior year, a production team and their casting director started going around different boarding schools. I prepared for it, not really thinking that I would get the role. Naturally, the call back was a pleasant surprise, and I had the fortunate opportunity to work with the renowned Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti.”
Alex: “One hell of a story, huh? Cooper?”
Cooper: “Haha, yeah my story isn’t as interesting as Dom's but here we go. Unlike Dom, I never had the intent to go to a boarding school growing up. I didn’t know much about it, neither did any of my family members attend one. Then, out of coincidence, my sister went to Hotchkiss. I visited her and fell in love with the idea of boarding schools. Studying and playing sports all while living together with friends. So, I applied and had my options down to Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, and Deerfield. Hotchkiss was a no for me because I didn’t want to go to the same school as my sister. Between Lawrenceville and Deerfield, the revisit day was my personal tipping point. At Deerfield, my revisit day was far more fun. The classes were interactive, the coaches for my sports felt personal, and the kids looked like they were having a fun time. I also liked the campus more than Lawrenceville’s. More nature and better facilities.
Alex: “Thank you, Cooper. For those of you who aren’t aware, revisit day is when a boarding school invites newly accepted students to their campus. You get paired with a current student and shadow them for the entire day.”
(To Cooper) “Can you tell me more about your experience during your time at Deerfield?”
Cooper: “Yes, of course. I mean, it’s difficult to cut down my or any of our boarding school experience into a few sentences because there is simply too much tell. So many stories, lessons, and relationships learned. That’s the biggest part for me. Relationships. I didn’t realize, and frankly, most of you won’t, until you actually do, but living with your friends during your formative years creates a bond that is exceptionally strong. I’m in college now, living in a dorm, with a roommate, but I will never make relationships as close as my boarding school friends. These kids are the closest things I have to brothers.”
“Besides that, sports were a big part of my boarding school career. I played football in the fall as my main sport. Alex and I wrestled in the winter, and I also played a bit of lacrosse. Being part of a team and going through practices put you in a community within a community. You make great friends and memories doing so.
Alex: “Haha, yes, We also both managed girl’s lacrosse for a term in the spring.”
“Dom, I want to ask you. At Deerfield or other boarding schools alike, sports is a major part of the extracurricular life of most students. Some would even say students feel the pressure of being part of a sports team. How was your experience as a student who took his career in a non-sports extracurricular.”
Dom: “There is certainly a big sports culture at a lot of boarding schools. The football, hockey, and lacrosse games are big events that everybody looks forward to cheer on. The kids on the team are often respected. Playing hockey helped a little, but in the end, being a theatre kid didn’t really bother me. I liked acting and I was proud of it. And luckily people seemed to enjoy my performance. Again, my biggest enjoyment came from making people laugh, so it worked out.”
Alex: “The takeaway here is that there is no need to succumb to the pressure of playing a sport. If you enjoy and are proud of whatever that is you do, that’s good enough.”
“As a cellist at Deerfield, I have to admit that I did occasionally feel a little left out for not being a part of a varsity sports team. At first. Then, I had an amazing time being part of the classical music program at Deerfield. I learned so much and even got to perform at the Carnegie Hall.”
Cooper: “I also want to emphasize that if you do want to play a sport, there are a lot of growth and opportunity in it. Obviously, your physical health improves. But being part of sports gives you perseverance and other helpful qualities for your life. And it’s totally OK if you haven’t played a sport. There are plenty of beginner teams like thirds or quads that are very fun. We all played quads soccer our sophomore fall and it was such a great time.”
Alex: “When it comes to sports, it’s never too late. I started wrestling for the first time in my life my sophomore year and became the captain of my team along with Cooper in two short years.”
“What don’t we start accepting some questions? Anyone? ”
Question: “Can you make varsity hockey, if you start in your freshmen year?”
Cooper: “Yes, absolutely. It depends on how good you are, how fast you learn, and how competitive the team is, but it is certainly a possibility, especially during your senior year.”
Question: How did you study for the SSAT?
Alex: “I really focused on the vocabulary. I memorized all the synonyms in clusters, drew relationships with other clusters, and repeated practice analogies till I was sick of it. If I remember correctly, that’s exactly how Mrs. Han taught me. The more words you know, the easier verbal is, and the faster you process the passages in the reading section. With reading, make sure you find your own method and stick to it. Are you going to read the questions first? Are you going to read the first half of the passage and move to the questions or read the whole thing first? What and how will you annotate? These things do help, but only if you practice enough and make it your own.”
Question: What do you think got us into Deerfield?
Dom: “I think it was the interview for me. I struck up a very deep conversation with my interviewer about acting and the Deerfield acting program. When you apply to schools, you are nothing but a piece of paper to the admission officers. I believe that you become alive, a person, in the eyes of the admission officer during your interview. In a competitive pool like Deerfield, you need someone to root for you on the inside.”
Cooper: “I think it was my activities. From my experience, boarding schools like Deerfield prefer well-rounded students. I played a lot of different sports but also played the guitar and drew.”
Alex: “It was the interview for me, too. My interviewer cried at the end of my interview after my mom told her a story about my childhood.”
“The best interview is when you have a flowing conversation that moves from a topic to a tangent to another tangent and so forth. A fun, engaging talk. Because that means the interviewer is interested in what you are saying.”
Cooper: “I agree. You should prepare some answers for popular questions, like strengths and weaknesses, but you should never memorize and recite. It’s gotta be personal.”
Alex: “Yes, my biggest advice is to prepare a set of stories that you can describe in detail. Whether it’s an anecdote or an extracurricular activity, list them on a piece of paper and practice talking about it. Then, at the beginning of your interview, mention each topic briefly, closely observing how your interviewer reacts. Elaborate on ones that seemed to be interested.”
Alex: “Dom here was actually the graduation speaker of our class. His speech, centered around a hilarious but profound metaphor for hamsters is worth watching. Here we go.”
https://deerfield.edu/parents/events/commencement-2022 (48:50 ~ 57:48)
Everyone: “It was a pleasure meeting you. Good luck with all your efforts and results.”