Senior Speeches: Grace Hong ’19

September 20, 2018


Take the opportunity to do random things, whether it’s in modules and service projects or somewhere else, go out, engage, and come back with anything you learn from the experience. It can be good or bad. Either way, you learn.

Each year, seniors at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School deliver a speech to their peers on a topic of their choosing in the Newhall Auditorium. Often equal parts clever and moving, emotional and personal, each speech offers a glimpse into the lives, experiences, struggles, and triumphs of SSM seniors.

Throughout the 2018-19 school year, we will share these speeches with the SSM community and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Grace and this is my fourth year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, and my third year in the BioScience program. And, yes, I went through weCreate units in 10th grade and modules in 11th. My junior year, I had so much fun doing random things that I’d never tried before, like making PGLO gel, making a junk journal, making and marketing bead products, playing chess, going to a physic show, and traveling to Costa Rica. These are all amazing experiences that are helping me figure out what I want and who I want to be. Today, I want to share two of the lessons I’ve learned so far.

The first is to make the most of every opportunity. In the spring of 2018, I went to Costa Rica for the modules and volunteer hours. During the trip, I visited a public school that was still under construction. The kids were studying in a space with only a few temporary walls holding the place together.   

Not only were the conditions of the school bad, but also the education system seemed very different than that of Shattuck. I made a friend whose name is Edisson Vega. Even though his English was not great, we managed to communicate. He told me what is like to live in Costa Rica and about his dream of being a soccer player. However, the only opportunity that is given to him in school is playing soccer at recess time. He didn’t have a professional coach, a team to play with or against, or any coaching. Despite his lack of opportunity, he didn’t complain about anything. Instead, he kept his dream alive.

From Edisson I learned that I should be thankful for the opportunities I have. Rather than complaining about school, I began to see the doors it was opening for me. When I came back to Shattuck, my appreciation of the school’s curriculum grew. I am thankful for the opportunity of modules, which gave me a chance to experience new things and reflect on what I had learned.

My second lesson is to make connections. After I came back to school, I realized I had also made a connection between what I learned in Costa Rica with BioScience. It seems weird, but that trip helped me figure out what I want to do in the future. I realize that I like to interact with different kinds of people and listen to their story. Based on what I learn about myself as a person, I made a connection with science. I figure out that I want to be a person who interact actively with others and work in the science field, like public health.

What I want to say is do whatever you are doing right now, because you don’t know how that can help you in the end. Take the opportunity to do random things, whether it’s in modules and service projects or somewhere else, go out, engage, and come back with anything you learn from the experience. It can be good or bad. Either way, you learn.

I’m not sure about my path, but trying new and unfamiliar things has gotten me one step closer to what I want.

Remember, take every opportunity and make connections to your own life and future.

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