Anything but Normal

September 07, 2015

My name is Mike Carpentier and I am a Shattuck-St. Mary’s alum from the class of 2000.

I am beginning my 11th year back at SSM. I teach in the history department and coach in the hockey department as well as baseball in the spring. 

When I think of Shattuck I think of normalcy. Let me clear that idea up. I grew up about a mile away. My mother has worked here for more years than she would like me to divulge. I started in school here in the 8th grade, and have collected at least one paycheck from here every year since the summer of 1996 when I was 14 years old. For better or worse many of the stories that make up my life are associated with this lovely place. That is why in many ways I associate our school with “normalcy.” Not that we are “normal” here or that there is not anything particularly special about us or this place. In fact, it is quite the opposite. We are unique. We are doing things and have programs here that do not exist anywhere else. That is extraordinary. And at this moment this place is associated with our lives and who we are. Right now this is our life. That makes each of us extremely lucky. In our daily lives we are surrounded by highly talented and highly motivated people. That challenges us. At times it can even be overwhelming.  Enjoy that challenge. Learn and grow. Do not be entitled. Rather be thankful. 

I like the wild West. I would like to borrow a line from an under-appreciated movie from the early ’90s called Tombstone. It is about the life and times of frontier lawman named Wyatt Earp and his friend Doc Holliday. Near the end of the film as Doc is dying he asks his friend, “What do you want Wyatt?” Wyatt responds, “Just to live a normal life.”  Doc responds with a profound message. “There is no normal life Wyatt. There is just life. Ya live it.”

I like that message. Though I associate this community with “normalcy,” our lives here are any but normal…normal does not exist. 

Allow yourselves to grow and learn. Allow yourselves to be challenged. Right now, right here…this is your life. It is your responsibility to live it. 

 - Mike Carpentier ’00

Mr. Carpentier offered these remarks at the Opening Chapel service on August 26th.


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