In a phone call from Tokyo, Japan, Sophie Griffin said she was celebrating her high school graduation by traveling to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka with her friend.
She’s no stranger to traveling — back in 10th grade, she went to Laos and Cambodia on a school trip, where she learned about western influence in those countries. There, she also learned how to be a “mindful and cognizant traveler,” which she said she’ll take with her as she travels through Japan.
Sophie started attending the Ross School in East Hampton in fifth grade. She said Ross’s curriculum focuses on narratives: hearing people’s stories, learning empathy and looking at things from a different perspective, which she found valuable.
“I really loved the place,” she said.
She enjoyed having classes with international students to get a “non-American perspective on world issues.”
Sophie was a part of Model United Nations, student government and soccer club. She was also the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine at Ross and worked closely with Leif Wood, who graduated with her.
“She’s one of the kindest people I know and one of the smartest people I know,” Leif said, adding that after prom got cancelled because not enough students had bought tickets, she had “single-handedly” organized a “smaller prom at the school that didn’t cost any money.”
Outside of school, Sophie interned for Eastmagazine last summer and continues to write for the publication now.
It was a “very interesting experience,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in writing, so being able to see how the process of a magazine works and also write for one has been really incredible.”
A voracious reader, Sophie said her affinity for literature helped her achieve academic success. When she was younger, she was interested in fantasy and science fiction books. Now, she said she enjoys reading novels. When her 10th grade English teacher moved to China, he left behind a “closet of books,” which Sophie was able to go through and take what interested her.
“The eclectic mix of the books is kind of the thing I like to read,” she said, adding that her favorite book she’s read recently has been “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari.
Sophie will attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut in the fall. She was drawn to its open curriculum, meaning she’ll be able to explore different classes without having to choose a major. She knew she wanted a small liberal arts school because she liked “having a community at Ross.”
“I went there, and I felt like it was a creative place, and I kind of felt at home,” she said about Wesleyan. After thumbing through the course catalogue, she said the psychology classes, media arts classes and English classes interested her.
“There’s also a robust film program there too, which I thought was interesting because I’m interested in film as well,” she said.
For Sophie’s senior project at Ross, she studied consciousness and created an experimental film based on her findings. She’s interested in exploring neuroscience further at Wesleyan.
Sophie gave a speech at the Ross graduation in which she talked about working together to change society for the better.
“If you’re going to pick a grand narrative to live by, make it one of kindness and compassion for your fellow man,” she said. “And woman. And earth. Besides being really great for everyone else, it’s also pretty nice in a self-serving way, because wouldn’t you rather live in a world of compassion?”
Sophie received the “Board Award,” for leadership at graduation. After traveling around Japan, Sophie will return to her home in Wainscott and work until classes start.