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.
Throughout the 2017-18 school year, we will share these speeches with the SSM community, and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.
“I want to begin by thanking my mom and dad. Without my family’s love and support, I would not have been able to come to Shattuck. Thank you.
“There is another family I need to thank today and that’s the one that welcomed me in 2014 as a clueless ninth grader. That family is this one, the community of students and teachers of Shattuck’s Middle School.
“When I came here in 2014, it could have been a lonely time. I was a year older than most of my classmates, so I didn’t have a team to bond with immediately - but being part of the Middle School gives you many chances to bond with each other.
“There’s the Singing Hills trip at the beginning of the year, where you first meet everybody. On that trip, our current president, Tony, picked me and two other boys to bunk together in one of the little wooden shacks. Tony’s small gesture meant a lot and helped me feel more at home. Family and community are built on these small gestures of kindness.
“At Singing Hills, middle schoolers are split into teams for the famous Marzetti Cup competition. We all wanted to win it. Our first task was to come up with a team name based on a combination of two categories: hairstyles and cartoon characters. For example, there were the Comb Homers, Scoobycrew - and my team: the Mullet Minions.
“Throughout the year, the Mullet Minions came together and triumphed in various challenges, such as 1970s TV show trivia and dodgeball. We didn’t know each other on that first day in Singing Hills, but by the end of the year, we had come together as a Mullet Minion family, and yes, our team was the one named by Mr. Groess - the old Mr. Groess - winners of the Marzetti Cup. The Mullet Minions team was made up of all sorts of students, from different places, with various talents - and we pulled together as one. That’s what family does.
“The Middle School teachers guided our family, some as grandparents, cranky uncles, or fun aunts. From Coach Carp I learned the importance of respecting family and being the best brother, husband, and son you can possibly be. The one and only Mr. Frankenfield - Fronk - always had a great story to tell, and his English class was the highlight of my day. And then there was Ms. Dineen. Ms. Dineen used so many different teaching methods to make sure her students understood biology. If it was someone’s birthday, that meant baked goods, brownies and lemon bars. These might have been small things, but they sent a big message of caring to her students. Remember, with family, it’s the small gestures that mean a lot.
“Middle School has traditions like Minnesnowta Days and being assigned to a lunch table for two weeks with different students from sixth through ninth grade. At the end of the year, there’s the Eagle Bluff trip, where we come together one last time as a family before our middle school days are done. I am very grateful that I was able to come to Shattuck through the Middle School and be a part of these things.
“Now I’m a senior, and the Middle School in some ways seems like ages ago. But I will always remember the lessons I learned and the friends I made there. Remember, it’s a family here at Shattuck. Even if you didn’t come here in the Middle School, know that this is a special community. We all bring something special to this family, and don’t ever underestimate the importance of a small gesture or a word of encouragement to someone.