As a lifelong lover of horses, Lucy Silvestri knew exactly what she wanted to do when she graduated high school. After an introduction to equine therapy at SUNY Cobleskill, she became a certified riding instructor after completing an intensive program with PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). She was hired at the North Jersey Equestrian Center, working with children and adults living with a variety of emotional, physical, and developmental challenges. After just two years, she was named director of the program. “At that point, I knew I was doing something right,” says Lucy.
When the pandemic hit and the program was forced to close, Lucy found herself out of a job. “I had to rethink my whole game plan, and I decided to just go for it. I put roots in the ground and started my own business.” Lucy took advantage of access to an old horse barn on her family’s dairy farm upstate to open Solomon’s Wish Stables in September 2020, named to honor the memory of her first horse.
Lucy is grateful for her formative years at MMFS. She was a student here from 2002 to 2008 before attending high school at Winston Prep, since our upper school had not yet been established. Lucy shares that the experience of attending a Quaker school has stayed with her. She says that listening to other people’s responses to queries in Silent Meeting helped her understand that everyone can have a different answer to the same question, because everyone has a different perspective.
Lucy remembers all of her MMFS teachers fondly, but “Jim Signorelli was definitely my favorite. He noticed that I always wrote my homework assignments using different colored pens, and one day he asked me why. He helped me realize that I was color coding to retain information. I do it to this day because it’s a strategy that works for me.”
Lucy encourages students to pursue a career path they are excited about. “Harness your strengths and do what makes you happy. Choose what feels natural and right—what you love and feel good about. I chose to do something with my life that emphasizes my physical strengths, and I have no challenges.”
Lucy hopes current MMFS students understand that a learning disability doesn’t have to stop them from achieving their dreams. “It may take me a little longer to do some things, I may have to take a detour, but I’m still going to get where I want to be. The LD doesn’t stop me.” And Lucy especially wants students never to be ashamed of their learning disabilities. “The LD is not what makes you who you are as a person. What makes you who you are is what you excel at in the world. Find your purpose. Use what you love to guide you.”