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.
“Change,” as coach Vernon likes to say, “is the only constant thing in life.” With change we can’t predict what the future may hold for us, but what we can do is be adaptable. Sometimes we expect change, like moving from middle school to high school and then onto college. Other times change comes out of nowhere, such as moving schools or gaining a sibling.
Change started off early for me, at the ripe old age of 2 ½, my life changed drastically! September 20th, 2003 changed my life forever. I was not going to be the only child in the house anymore. I was not going to be the spoiled kid anymore. It was all going to have to be shared now with my little brother. I would have to share my toys, a room, and most importantly, attention and love from my parents, grandparents, and neighbors. Growing up everything was a competition: who could do more, who was stronger, and who could gain more attention and praise. I never had that before he was born, but it taught me to battle for what you want in life and to do your best. Siblings completely change your life for the better, even though they are a pain in the butt almost constantly. For example, people often tell me that we look like twins even though I am almost three years older than him. Since the day my “twin” was born, I was never alone. I gained a brother and a friend that I will have for a lifetime. He even followed me to Shattuck; I guess he just couldn’t live without me.
Another more recent life development took place two summers ago when I got a text from my coach about attending a boarding school in Minnesota, where I could expand my soccer career and experience the mainland, including the joy of my first true winter! I never thought I would move away from Hawaii in high school to come to the bare prairie of the Midwest and live in Minnesota, out of all places, but I did. Despite the subzero temperatures and the occasional farmland stench, I would choose Shattuck again, in a heartbeat. A lot of unexpected small changes came along with this monumental decision. I moved away from Paradise, friends, and most significantly, my family. Moving from a school of about 120 students and coming to Shattuck, a large campus containing about 500 students, was very overwhelming. I knew everyone at my old school and now I don’t know even half the students at this school. Even though this move was a bit of shock, as no one here enjoys SPAM, a true culinary masterpiece, as much as I do, I was privileged to become part of a new community and meet so many incredible people along the way.
We all experience change. It’s what we do with that change that determines the outlook of our lives. So, when change comes to knock you down, find a way to get your butt back up!