Our Strategic Vision

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Santi’s Excellent Adventure!

This article originally appeared in the winter edition of The Light magazine.

Walk into the lobby at Pearl Street, turn to your right, and you will see a giant poster of one of our varsity soccer players—his name is Santiago McLaughlin, and he is a member of the Class of 2024. If you walk into our Lawrence Street lobby, you will see another large poster with some of our Upper School students interacting—Santi is in that one too. Did you happen to attend our Fall Fantasy Parade? If so, you surely took note of our three fantastic Upper School emcees—yes, Santi was one of them. Oh, and if you or someone you know might have attended a Middle School/Upper School Enrollment Open House, you would have heard from a student panel, which included Santi. Don’t worry, we checked, there is only one Santi.

“For me, to be able to balance all the things I do here is only achieved with the help of my teachers,” Santi said. “The teachers here want to see us succeed in many ways and are always very encouraging. Also, I have taken inspiration from prior years and prior seniors to see how they handled being very active in the school. One of my biggest points of pride is that my senior class right now is super-interactive with other grades, and I think we lead by example.”

Santi credits the many teachers he has had over his 16 years here at BFS in making a difference in his life.

“Brooklyn Friends teachers have unlocked me to use my attitude and my energy for good,” said Santi, who—in addition to being a leader on the soccer, basketball, and volleyball teams—carries among the toughest IB schedule. “The ingraining of teaching us what is right, and what is human to do—that really becomes a part of who you are, to be a good person.”

Santi has not taken his long journey at BFS alone. Every year, other than the past two years, he has had his two older sisters— Salma ’20 and Yamila ’22—to serve as his guides. He credits them for his success and, in many ways, for the person he has become.

“My sisters paved the way for me to be an outgoing person and to push myself to be my best. … They have been super inspirational to me and supportive with everything I have done,” Santi said. “Definitely socially, having them here helped me out a lot. But it also helped me out with teachers knowing who I was, and when heading into the IB Program, it was my sisters who really guided me through which classes I should take.”

Over the past two years, Santi has been seemingly everywhere. However, make no mistake about it, he is not doing all of these activities because he is on an ego trip. In fact, one of the favorite things Santi has accomplished at BFS, was done for a friend. Santi helped to co-found the Sports Broadcasting Club in the Upper School—not because he had interest in becoming a sports broadcaster—but because he was supporting a good friend, Eli Grubin, who is passionate about sports broadcasting and has in fact broadcast more than 150 BFS events during his time here.

“I wanted to help and support Eli,” Santi said. “Me helping him turn his passion into an official club just shows what BFS is all about. Shining a light on him is something that makes me feel really proud.”

As he enters his final months at BFS, Santi is savoring each and every moment.

“I am obviously thinking back and reflecting on my time here at BFS for sure,” Santi said. “I think about how I started back in Preschool as a kid that was very boisterous and very loud, to a person who uses that attitude now to do community school events, and speak in public, and be a leader. That progression is entirely due to BFS. … Definitely in your senior year you get sad and reminisce, because every time you do something, it is your last time doing it. I think about every little moment that I have had here, and I cherish every moment.”