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.
I don’t remember much before coming to Shattuck. I would wake up, go to school, practice soccer, do homework, and then sleep. My routine was mundane, I felt my life was a track on an endless loop. Coming to Shattuck was exciting, a new start all on my own. My life was thrilling again, I could do whatever I wanted. I like to attribute my growth as an individual to this school, but not because this school is a utopia by any means. Many people believe their high school years are the best years of their lives, but I believe they are the years that shape a person the most.
When I was invited to come to this school starting freshman year, I realized it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I could escape my dull life back home to start fresh with brand new teammates and schoolmates. A lot of senior speeches reflect on how Shattuck became a second home, but in my case it became my only home. On breaks it felt like I was visiting my parents and in the summers I would get bored and want to come back to school. Although I have less contact with my parents and my Texas home, I attribute it to me finding independence.
Coming to Shattuck has shown me that I’m not special. This isn’t a negative fact, but something that has helped me grow as a person. I didn’t realize this at first, but after watching other students commit, get full rides, and play for their national team, I see the immense talent that this school accommodates. As many people have said before, Shattuck is a small pond where big fish gather. Having the privilege to come to a training ground for world class athletes has been an extraordinary experience and I am reminded everyday of my first encounter with the campus.
I know this sounds cliche, but stepping through the Arch for the first time was a surreal feeling, a feeling I can only describe as jittery. I had no friends and I didn’t know where to go, I was hopped up on adrenaline every second I was awake. Slowly I learned the schedules and I started to bond with my classmates. My dorm was now my home and my teammates became my brothers. I forgot what it was like in Houston and as I felt like I was living in a lucid dream. Our team wasn’t good and I didn’t even care, it was the best year of my life so far.
Now in my senior year, I look back on my four years at Shattuck for this speech and I came to the realization that even if I came here for soccer, the things I learned along the way are way more important than playing at the next level. Being on my own has taught me to juggle my time between soccer, school, and fun. Being on a losing team taught me that when you do win; celebrate. Being at Shattuck has taught me that I’m not special, and that’s fine with me. After all, even if you are 1 in a million, then there are over 7000 people just like you.