South Country Education Foundation

Alumni Focus – Susan L. Stumme

Susan L. Stumme was the valedictorian of Bellport High School’s Class of 1991. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1995, having spent a year studying at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris. After working as a legal assistant for three years in Washington, she earned a Masters degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She now works as a news writer and editor for the English service of Agence France-Presse in Paris. She notably covered the January 2001 verdict in the Lockerbie bombing trial (Pan Am Flight 101) at Camp Zeist, the Netherlands.

Susan wrote the following when asked to comment on the importance of education in her life:

Education has been a driving force in my life virtually from birth. My parents are both retired teachers, who instilled in me the value of a quality education, and the importance of not taking such opportunities for granted. At Bellport High, I took extra classes, using my lunch period to learn Spanish, as I knew even then that not every child has the opportunity to earn an education.

Education not only feeds the intellectual mind with facts and figures on various topics — from French to physics — but learning also teaches the student about emotion, their personality and their limits.

I savored each moment of my education, from my kindergarten days at Kreamer Street Elementary School, to the halls of Georgetown and Northwestern, to the education I receive every day as a journalist. Courses taken in high school have shaped who I am today. My passion for the French language has led to my current life as an expatriate in Paris, working in both French and English every day. My years on the high school tennis team fostered a lifelong love for the sport. My editing skills first took shape during years of writing papers and other assignments.

My education has opened doors for me. Not everyone is suited for university study, but everyone should maximize all chances presented to get an education. In a world drawn ever closer by technology and global financial markets, education is necessary to get ahead. In a world riven by ethnic and religious conflict, education is the best tool toward stamping out hatred and suffering.