Senior Speeches: Memories and Purpose

January 19, 2017


“When I arrived here, I immediately started to feel lonely; my family was far away and it’s really hard to communicate with them. I started to wonder: Why am I here? I miss everything at home, and for what?”

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.


When I arrived here, I immediately started to feel lonely; my family was far away and it’s really hard to communicate with them. I started to wonder: “Why am I here? I miss everything at home, and for what?

…Back in the UAE, I had lots of friends in school, and I gave a lot of speeches in front of the students, but now, I was losing my true identity. One day, I finally stood in the front of the mirror in my room, and I gave myself a pep-talk. I know this sounds insane, but I said to the person who was standing in the mirror, “Hey, if you’re going to sacrifice all the things you love at home, then you had better change your attitude, try to adapt, make a new friends, and try to improve your English. Your family expects a lot from you, so don’t disappoint them.”

That day, I changed, and my mood improved. I started to make new friends even with my bad English, I got high grades in my classes, and everybody noticed that I had become a more confident person. I’m changed from a pessimist with discouraging ideas to an optimist with a bright future. Seeing things from another angle has helped me become a better person.

- Husain Al Ahbabi

Everyone has a different childhood with unique memories they’ll remember for a lifetime. My memory is moving from state to state almost every summer. Growing up, my life consisted of following my dad’s job wherever it took him. Even though this made the task of making friends extremely difficult for me, I was always so proud of my dad for his promotions. His accomplishments, goals, and perseverance through the highs and lows has shown me just who I strive to be every single day…

…My home is with my siblings who have become more than just family but life-long friendships, and with my dogs Joseph and booboppers that make sure I’m always greeted at the door, and I’m never alone when eating food. They’ve showed me the true meaning of family, they’re my Ohana and “Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten” - LILO and Stitch

- Meredith Manson

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    Will Milne