Senior Speeches: Gavin Pankey ’19

September 27, 2018


Shattuck has given me so many things to be thankful for. A better team for me to play on, a better education for myself, and a brighter future. 

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.

Shattuck has given me so many things to be thankful for. A better team for me to play on, a better education for myself, and a brighter future. Even though leaving home was hard, I still believe it was the right choice for me. I didn’t want to look back at this opportunity and regret not taking it.

The way I came across Shattuck was very lucky. I was fourteen and playing a soccer tournament in Alabama with my old club team. We didn’t travel much for games or tournaments, so this was all exciting for us. My dad and little brother Luke came out to support me at the game. My brother was wearing a red Man United jersey, which is coach Moullin’s favorite soccer team. And you know, coach just had to go talk to him about the reds.

He went up to Luke and asked, “Which one is your brother out there?”

Luke said, “Number 10.”

Coach watched a bit of the match and asked Luke to take him to our father. They introduced themselves and exchanged emails. I remember after the game, checking out the Shattuck-St Mary’s website in the hotel room with my dad. Just seeing the arch, clock tower, and dome made me extremely excited about this opportunity.

I went to a prospect weekend later that summer and played well in front of the soccer coaching staff. The whole situation was adrenaline rushing and nerve-wracking. When I got back home, I received an email about the possibility of attending Shattuck. This immediately motivated me to do better in school and soccer, to help me prepare for Shattuck mentally and physically.

I remember my last day at my old public school. It was the second week of classes and was the day I planned to tell everyone I was leaving to attend a boarding school in Minnesota. Part of me didn’t want to tell anyone, so the day wouldn’t be spent saying goodbye. I wanted to take my last day in, and appreciate what my old school had given me. I suddenly asked myself, “Am I going to regret this? Can I actually do this?”

Then I remembered something my dad said to me: “You never want to say what if. You don’t want to look back at this, years later and ask yourself, what if I had gone to Shattuck?” That thought scared me, and now I can look back and say I made the right decision.

I guess the theme of my speech would be to take every opportunity that is presented to you. Don’t take anything for granted.

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