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 the first 15 years of my life I lived in Asia, and went to all nine years of school in Hong Kong. I was born in Hong Kong, lived in Shanghai until I was one and a half, then lived in Malaysia for three years until we finally settled in Hong Kong. Getting to experience those different countries, cultures, and foods was great, a lot of what I considered normal was quite different from here.
The day I found out I was coming to Shattuck was exciting, a huge relief, and it also made me a bit nervous. The realization that I would be leaving the only school I had ever attended, the friends I had grown up with, and moving away from home for the first time really hit me. Now I would be 7000 miles away, in a completely different environment, and going into a school where I did not know anyone. I had no idea what to expect, or how I would fit in.
Faribault and SSM are a whole new world. I was coming from Hong Kong with a population of close to 8 million people squished into an area that is 1% the size of Minnesota. The weather was good - on the coldest days I would wear a hoodie with my shorts to school. A “long” car ride was defined as anything longer than 20 minutes. The first ice rink I played on was on the 8th floor of a mall, and had a roller coaster going through it overhead.
In Hong Kong, I lived a very structured lifestyle. Hong Kong is one of the most “scheduled” cities in the world, with parents trying to fill every minute of every day with activities. In Hong Kong, I had the same routine of getting out of school at 2:25pm, going straight to after-school practices, home for dinner, and then to hockey practice at night. On weekends, I would wake up on Saturday morning at 5:30 for my 7:00am game on the only full size ice rink in Hong Kong. On weekend nights we would have sleepovers, or go downtown with friends, or sometimes just relax and catch up with things.
The transition to Shattuck wasn’t always easy. There have been ups and downs, and on a few occasions I just wanted to stop everything and go home.
However, looking back on everything now, it’s hard to imagine that three years have already gone by. I’ve made a lot of great new friends, learned a lot from my teachers and coaches, had countless great experiences. In short, these have been the best two and a half years of my life.
I want to thank my parents, especially my mom, who was willing to stay in Faribault for three years and put up with Megan and me. I think it’s pretty obvious that there are a lot of other places she’d rather be.
Lastly, I want to thank my sister Megan for always being there for me. Even though we don’t always get along, you’re always helping me when it matters. After being literally everywhere together for the last 17 years, it’s going to feel really weird without you when we go our different ways next fall. Even though I never say it out loud, I’m really going to miss you being around.