Senior Speeches: Be Unstoppable

January 20, 2017


“I like to prove people wrong. I like to show the people who have doubted my abilities that even though I have had a lot of injuries, I will never give up, and I will always be happy doing what I love.”

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.


“Be comfortable in the uncomfortable.” A simple phrase that I had heard, but never really understood until I left home to come to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Like many of you, I made the courageous and life-changing decision to come here in dire pursuit of my passion, and this community has played an integral and undeniable role in shaping me. The strong sense of love and acceptance that exist in this school is like no other, and it is something that I will definitely miss when I walk under the arch one last time…

… What I have come to realize is that change is not a bad thing; it forced me to stretch myself, to reach out, to be the new kid no one knew, to feel lonely at times, to wonder what I was doing, and where was I going – it literally took me two days to realize that there was a Lower Shumway. So, not until I was truly uncomfortable did I start to grow.  

- Georgia Keogh

Skating has been really hard for me not because the jumps are difficult, but because of the emotional toll it took on me. I personally have had a lot of difficulty, which always ended with the same question, “Is this something that you still want to do?” My answer was always, “Yes.”

…If something doesn’t makes me happy, I need to change my outlook and not let people determine what I can and can’t do. This was a huge problem with my sport because so many people told me not to take risks, or take it easy because I am prone to injuries. But being who I am and with what my sister has taught me, I like to prove people wrong. I like to show the people who have doubted my abilities that even though I have had a lot of injuries, I will never give up, and I will always be happy doing what I love. 

I would like to thank my sister for everything, as she has always been there to protect and guide me. I would also like t­­o leave you with a quote my sister taught me from our favorite show Grey’s Anatomy, “Have some fire, be unstoppable, be a force of nature.”

- Monica Piatti

This is my third year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Before I came here, I lived in a small town in China called Fenyang. It’s about the size of Faribault, where the tallest buildings are no higher than ten floors. It doesn’t seem to be a typical city in crowded China. In fact, it is a poor and underdeveloped place. However, living in such a small town gives me the chance to meet a particular group among my peers—the left-behind, whose parents are away, and who live with their extended families…

One of my best friends in middle school is a left-behind child. He did not want to start conversations with people and felt very sensitive about others’ comments towards him. I still meet him occasionally when I go back home. And I feel sick knowing he is about to get married at the young age of 19, while he could be studying at an excellent university instead. He is not the only left-behind I know, and he is not the only one who suffers from this identity. 

At the same time, I feel like I am entitled and privileged. I receive the best education that one can have. I have a bright future, I work hard, and I feel like I deserve all of it. However, these kinds of thoughts are selfish and ignorant, because what I’ve gotten in life is not based on equality, and equality in life is as much my responsibility to create as anybody’s. Therefore, one day, I want to do my utmost to make the world a better place for every single one of us.

- James Yan

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    Rob Lee