Joan Marie Walsh ‘21 and Katie Patrick ‘21
Every February The Voice produces a “Date Lab” piece that is inspired by The Washington Post’s feature, as a tribute to Valentine’s Day and a fun way to set people up based on common interests. For SSSAS students, this is a unique way to get to know your classmates that you may not surround yourself with on a regular basis. It has always been a tradition to send seniors on these blind dates, and in past years these dates have been in person, but, unfortunately due to the world's circumstances at the moment, these dates had to be via Zoom this year. However, we still thought we would give it a shot, and lots of seniors volunteered. Here are the lucky three couples that were chosen based on their anonymous survey results!
DATE LAB: AMANDA & CHRIS
“They haven't spoken since freshman year, but who knew how much they had in common?!”
Amanda Gaffney ‘21 and Chris Yu ‘21 have been going to school together since freshman year, but they both agreed that they honestly did not know a single thing about each other. However, they were thought to be a good match because of their outgoing and bold personalities.
As hoped, the date was a success. They both admitted they were a bit nervous going into it because they did not know each other and it was on Zoom, but they talked for a straight hour and had nothing but good things to say about their experience.
They started their Zoom date with the icebreaker questions that were provided for them, but both immediately agreed that the questions were silly and that they did not even need them as a guide. They jumped right into the topic of college, which was one of their main topics of conversation. They were very open with each other about their stresses and concerns as they are both still undecided about where they are going to end up next year. Amanda did say jokingly that “he is my competition now” as they concluded that they applied to a lot of the same schools. Amanda said that “it really helps that Chris is funny because whenever it got awkward he would just crack a joke and the conversation would just pick right back up,” and Chris said similarly that “Amanda is a very good conversationalist and easy to talk to.” Midway through their date, they both said that they were pretty comfortable with each other as they had talked about everything from what music they liked to friends and family.
Would they do it again? Amanda said that they did talk about this but Chris is stressed about his driving issues at the moment, which led to another 15 minutes of interesting conversation, but they would both be down to possibly do it again and overall were very happy with how their date went!
DATE LAB: EVA & KEMAL
“Maybe a second time when they can be in person?”
Eva Balistreri ‘21 and Kemal Ozdemirli ‘21 went into their Zoom date optimistic because they are both enthusiastic people, but they were a bit nervous as they have not talked all year because they are not in school on the same days.
Eva had to call Kemal a couple of times before he answered, so she was stressed that he forgot about the date. Once he answered they immediately started talking because they were in a time crunch. They compared and contrasted the courses they are taking, Kemal talking about his interest in STEM and Eva talking about her interest in the arts and English. They also, of course, talked about college and where their heads are at for next year.
Overall, they both agreed that Zoom dates aren't for them. They both conveyed how they wished that they had more time and that it felt extremely rushed. Although they both could hold a steady conversation, they both agreed that being on Zoom for a date is a bit awkward.
DATE LAB: CALLIE AND CHRISTIAN
“Different circles, but similar interests”
Being in different circles and classes didn’t prevent Callie Heimbach ‘21 and Christian Borden ‘21 from hitting it off on their Zoom date. Both of them, assuming it would be awkward, were pleasantly surprised with the personal connections made. With all the crazy that senior year brings, Christian said, “we were able to really connect over the joys and woes of the college process.” Their conversation lasted about an hour. They talked about track since they both share a deep love for running. Callie complimented Christian for his ambition to compete at an SEC school, saying, “competing in a stadium like that would be insane and awesome to see my own classmate compete at that level.”
They also shared a common interest in traveling, something Callie especially wants to take part in as she considers going to college in Europe. Christian admires this consideration of Callies and believes “it would be a fantastic change of pace.” While still talking about travel, Callie learned that Christian also wants to travel, but as a journalist, especially into dangerous areas to cover stories that other people aren’t necessarily focusing on. She thinks this is “so unique and fantastic” and was “psyched to learn that about Christian.”
Callie and Christian’s positive experience goes to show that we all have classmates we’ve gone to school with for what feels like forever but may not know them as well as we could. There seemed to be so many aspects and particular interests that they learned about one another, which further connected them. They concluded their date by talking about how excited they are for the class of 2021’s ten-year reunion “to see where everyone ends up.” They both feel so much pride in being part of this particular senior class and sincerely appreciate everyone in it.
Callie says, “I would really recommend this activity to the whole grade and the younger grades because I definitely want to now spark up to new conversations with my peers since my experience talking to Christian was so positive.” Christian agreed and said, “It was really cool to get to know someone who I hadn’t really talked to much prior to this and we were really just able to connect, person to person.”