Senior Speeches: Cherishing Life and Perseverance

February 07, 2017

“I will always remember to truly appreciate my time with my family and friends, and make the most of that time.”

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.

“Coming to SSM was anything but easy.

… The first few months were miserable. I didn’t know one person, and being shy did not help as I wasn’t able to make friends right away. I often found myself in my room hiding from the reality that this was going to be a hard transition from home, where I was comfortable. I missed my friends, family…everything. I consider this time the lowest point in my life; all I thought about was how much better it would be if I would have stayed home.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come back the following year. When I was going through this hard time, my mom was there with me the whole time. She would tell me everything will be ok, you just need to take it day by day and make the most if it. I took her advice and as the year went on I began to enjoy Shattuck-St. Mary’s more and more, and by the end of the year I had met some great people and had made some great friends. When the school year was over, I was excited and looking forward to coming back.

Now that I look back on my experiences, I thank God that I stayed and spent three years here. There have been many ups and down but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

- Nick Bink

“Everyday throughout middle school, I would walk through the doors, and down the hall to my locker, only to see one of my closest friends, Jonathan Tuthill, standing there. I always looked up to him as he had such a positive outlook on life. No matter what was on Jon’s mind, he always seemed to be putting smiles on the faces around him; Jon was just a guy that everyone liked.

As the end of eighth grade approached, I told Jon that I would be leaving Grand Ledge to play hockey at a boarding school. I remember when I told him that his face lit up. Though he was sad to see me leave, he was happy for me and always wanted me to do big things; he supported me more than anyone, and I can never thank him enough for that.

Throughout the summer, we hung out often trying to make the most of our time together, since we would only get to see each other every three to four months from now on. However, once I left, over the next three years our friendship seemed to get worse. Looking back on it now, I regret allowing it to do so. I’d go back and change that in a heartbeat if I had the chance to. Jon and I were always laughing together and having a good time. Nothing was funnier than watching him try to impress me with his hockey skills during gym class and I would just sit back and laugh at him.

Just this past August Jon turned 18. I remember texting him and wishing him a happy birthday; he responded and asked me to hang out with him and our friend Josh the next day. I responded quickly with a yes and even told him that I would get him a gift. That next morning, I received a call from Josh. He was crying, and I had never seen him sad before in my life.

“He’s gone bro.” He told me that Jon had been the driver in a car that had hit the back of a stopped truck on the freeway; he was killed instantly. I couldn’t believe it and didn’t want to. I remember crying, praying that it was all a dream.

In the days to follow, it was hard seeing everyone that had been impacted by this tragedy, but it was amazing to see all of the people in the community come together and help to support one another. Jon taught me a lot, but most importantly to always cherish life and time with my loved ones because I never know when that may be taken away from me. I will always remember to truly appreciate my time with my family and friends, and make the most of that time.”

- Caleb Rule

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    Elijah Henderson