DIGGING When Leighlani Sanchez ’18 starts Columbia University in September, she’ll be the first in her family to attend college. Last fall, she delivered NMH’s annual Spade Oration, a call to work hard in the coming year. She told a story of strength and determination — her mother’s and her own. ESSAY B Y LEI G HLANI S ANC HEZ ’18 PORTR AIT B Y CHAT TMAN PHOTOGR A P H Y
DEEP I AM HERE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT A SPADE. Not just any spade, but Northfield Mount Hermon’s ceremonial spade. It’s been a long-standing tradition at NMH for a member of the graduating class to pass down this spade to the rising senior class. That senior class will then use the spade to plant a tree and attach a colored ribbon, marked with their class year, to the handle. The spade represents dedication and hard work — concepts that all of us are very familiar with. But because they’re so familiar, we seldom stop to think about them or question them. So I’ll ask: Why do you work hard? What have you worked your hardest for? What does hard work look like to you?