Alumni Q&A: Sam Ravetz ’11

Sam Ravetz ’11 spent his high school years at Fieldston, where he was a proud member of the Varsity Basketball Team and the Community Service Advisory Board. Always open to new experiences, Ravetz has volunteered at a penguin sanctuary in South Africa, taught English in Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship, and worked at the 2016 Rio Olympics at the USA House — to name a few. Today, he’s based in Brooklyn, New York, and Fieldston still plays a large part in his life — he’s the Young Alumni Chair for the Fieldston Alumni Network Leadership Committee. He serves as Senior Giving Manager at Bombas and recently founded Save Our Democracy!, a platform for volunteering in elections around the country.

What was your favorite food at the dining hall?

An early-morning oily bacon, egg, and cheese — the favorite Class of 2011 meal from Chef Queen Liz.

When you meet another Fieldston alum, what’s the first thing you talk about? How can you tell that someone’s a Fieldston alum?

You ask who their Form Dean was. Then you narrow your conversation to teachers and most certainly check in on the folks who may be in their year. I often find that we Fieldston alumni are much better listeners than most folks. Because we’re built to be interested in the things and people around us, we often appreciate hearing more from someone else besides ourselves! 

What causes are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about helping make everyone’s voice heard. My hope is that Save Our Democracy! helps equip folks — in typical Fieldston fashion — with the tools to play a positive role in their communities. Our organization seeks to make a difference in the 2020 election and beyond, providing a platform that matches people’s passions, time availability, and method of engagement to ensure they find a personalized opportunity to help save our democracy, through initiatives like letter writing, phone banking, and more.

Who’s a teacher you’ll never forget?

Maura Furfey (who still teaches Spanish today) introduced me to the idea of a gap year, and I never looked back. Thanks to Ms. Furfey’s care and confidence in her students, I chose to take a year off school at a time when few friends did. Spending so much time far away from both my home and comfort zone has helped shape the person I've become. 

Fieldston as a whole pushes us to think outside our natural four walls, fostering an interest in the “other,” and Ms. Furfey handed me the keys to engage that curiosity. 

Where was your favorite place to hang out on campus?

The 400s corridor. That passageway was one of the most-frequented spots at Fieldston, and as an expert people-watcher, it allowed me to easily catch the pulse of the School.

What’s been the biggest surprise of your career?

I’ve been delightfully surprised by how far a liberal arts degree can take you. When I entered the job market, I suffered from imposter syndrome because I didn’t have a technical skill. After a few years, I learned that soft skills are highly coveted, too. In an age of such accessible information, folks who are able to think critically are more useful than ever.

How did you adjust to college?

I found a “Fieldston on steroids” in Occidental College, except with Los Angeles’ 300 days of sun. Knowing that I was over 3,000 miles away from New York but among peers who shared similar values as my fellow Eagles, I felt right at home.  

Did you ever fail a test?

Oh, yes. In Mr. Howard’s class. Multiple times.

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