Senior Speeches: Establishing Community, Connections

September 27, 2016


“However, as I pushed through days that made me want to pack my bags, I soon felt the magic that this place truly holds. Much like Japan, I have made everlasting relationships with my teammates, roommates, and classmates that I will cherish forever.”

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.

Periodically throughout the 2016-2017 school year, we will share excerpts of those speeches with the SSM community, and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.

Karla Cuellar Vivar

“I’ve been at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for barely three weeks, and everyone has been so welcoming that I already feel part of the SSM community. But even though it has been a short time, I’ve learned the value of hard work. Everyone pushes me forward here; the teachers, the coaches, even my friends make me want to be the best version of myself that I can be. I have learned that I should never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it; it might take a day, it might take a year, but with support, I realize that the path is never as hard as it seems.”

Avery Dunn

“My brother and I had been studying Japanese in elementary school, and my parents thought it would be beneficial for us to be immersed in Japanese completely, despite their lack of understanding of the language. In my first few weeks, I would beg my parents to not make me go to school, feeling overwhelmed from the pointing and stares I got as the first blond-haired American many of my classmates had seen. While having to attend school in the summer was particularly hard as a fourth grader, it seemed almost impossible to befriend kids with whom I could barely hold a conversation…

… Fast forward six years, and I arrived at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, feeling very similar to how I felt those first days in Japan. While I was able to understand the language, I felt out of place without my family or any friends with whom I could really connect. However, as I pushed through days that made me want to pack my bags, I soon felt the magic that this place truly holds. Much like Japan, I have made everlasting relationships with my teammates, roommates, and classmates that I will cherish forever.”