Senior Speeches: Overcoming Tragedy and Adversity

September 29, 2016


“He became, and still is, the big brother I never had growing up. He taught me that whatever bad was happening now would soon go away, and I would find something good underneath it.”

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.

Niko Esposito

“The people that have been placed in my life here at Shattuck-St. Mary’s have changed me forever. I have been impacted by my roommates, my teammates, and many teachers and coaches. Those are the people I will never forget. 

Above all, the most important person in my life that has had the greatest impact on me is my mom. I had thirteen amazing years with an even more amazing woman. There was never a hockey game she didn’t come to, and I could always see her in the stands cheering me on. She was so proud of my skating skills because she was the one who taught me how to skate at a young age, instead of my dad who did play hockey. She taught me how to stick up for myself, love my little brother, and be independent.”

Taylor Johnson

“I had just entered my freshman year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Only a few weeks into the school year, my mom got diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma, like any form of cancer, if not treated properly, can kill you. My mom who had run 20 marathons, 13 half marathons, and multiple triathlons, would have to stop running for six months and undergo three surgeries in order to get rid of the cancer on her leg. Her strength through everything she had been put through gave me the courage to go outside of my comfort zone and be brave, too. As a shy, new freshman at Shattuck, I decided to try out for the fall comedy, auditioning for only a small role. The day of my mom’s first surgery, I was lucky enough to go home and tell her that I had gotten the lead in the play. It was only a six-person cast, and I did not know anyone else in it so naturally I was extremely nervous. Through this experience, I gained a best friend and big brother in Pascal.

Pascal was a senior and quickly took me under his wing to teach me about how to survive, not only at Shattuck but in the world around me. He became, and still is, the big brother I never had growing up. He taught me that whatever bad was happening now would soon go away, and I would find something good underneath it.”

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