Aiden Silvestri

Year of Graduation: 
Aiden Silvestri

“I’m happy my writing has improved, that’s something I’ve always wanted to get better at.”

A steady rain falls across the Exeter campus rapidly reducing thick mounds of New Hampshire snow into puddles. Watching the downpour from inside the Academy Library, 3,000 miles and three time zones away from his family, Aiden Silvestri ’22 feels right at home. The Seattle-area native arrived at Exeter in the fall as a 15-year-old with the usual excitement and trepidation that a cross-country move can instill in anyone.

“It was a hard adjustment,” Aiden says of his early days on campus. “But after a while, I got used to it.”

Contributing to Aiden’s initial uneasiness about starting at Exeter was the coursework, mainly English. “My writing was just absolutely terrible, I’m not going to deny that,” he says with a laugh. “I used to always focus on the big picture.” An assignment for Instructor Patricia Burke Hickey’s class encouraged Aiden to think about all of the details that can go into describing a single instant of time. Using that guidance, Aiden penned an essay about a recent trip to Spain and the many things he observed on the bustling streets of Barcelona between sips of hot chocolate. 

“I’ve learned if I want to tell a story that’s descriptive you have to write about small moments,” he says. Aiden’s essay was chosen to be included in the Academy’s alumni magazine, The Exeter Bulletin, an honor the budding writer is thrilled to receive. “I’m really happy my writing has improved, because that’s something I’ve always wanted to get better at.” 

Getting his kicks

A soccer player from an early age, Aiden pauses as he tries to remember exactly how old he was when he began playing before settling on “many, many years ago.” A veteran of the Washington club circuit, Aiden set his sights on making the varsity soccer team at Exeter. “I felt like I could challenge myself more,” he says. With that goal in mind, Aiden admits he was apprehensive about how his skills would compare to his Exeter teammates. “The thing I was most nervous about was soccer,” he says. 

Aiden Silvestri soccer

Coming in as a prep, the outside back says he expected a hierarchy within the squad based on seniority. What he found was in fact the opposite, a supportive culture he attributes to leadership within the team, namely senior captains Behaylu Barry and Jonah Johnson. “From day one they talked to me like I was their friend,” Aiden says. “The team this year has been really amazing to play with.” 

Preparing to launch 

Outside of the classroom and away from the soccer field, Aiden knew he wanted explore the many extracurriculars available to him at Exeter.

He grins while recalling the excitement of club sign-up night: “It was kind of chaos at first because there were so many people yelling at you to sign up here or sign up there. Some of the clubs that I was specifically looking for were all the way in the back, so by the time I got there I had already signed up for five others.” 

Curious about entrepreneurship, Aiden joined the Exeter Launch Club. Using training and resources developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Launch program, Aiden and his clubmates work in teams to come up with product ideas and marketing strategies. Aiden learned early on that part of the creative process is discovering what doesn’t work. “In my group we had a good idea, but it fell apart. We’re trying to come up with something from scratch now,” he says. In the coming months, small groups from the club will present their business plans to a panel of Exeter alumni for feedback. 

Now in his second term, Aiden is thriving in his new environment. Small moments, like watching his classmates navigate soggy sidewalks, remind him of his hometown and the frequent rainfall in the Pacific Northwest. Looking out on the scene from a first-floor window of the Academy Library, Aiden smiles: “This is perfectly fine, it’s actually kind of nice.”

— Adam Loyd