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.
“One of the best lessons I have learned wasn’t in a classroom or listening to my parents. It was the summer going into my junior year when I was pulling weeds and mowing lawns. It was my first time earning a paycheck and feeling the pain of having to go to work the next day. Looking back on those hot summer days, I often reflect on who I was before I came to Shattuck and who I am now. Things have changed, such as who I spend my time with, what I value, and what I look forward to.
“Up until 9th grade, I spent most of my time around friends, separating myself from family activities. I was tired of being parented and getting the blame for nearly everything, even though it usually was my fault. Being around family was boring, and I valued my time elsewhere. Friends are simple and fill my mind with memories. But there’s something missing. These past three years at Shattuck have taught me the value of family. I have two loving parents and two younger sisters who were pretty happy when they heard that I’d be attending school far from home. This was also a dream of mine, since I was coming to a place where I could live the way I wanted to. I get to play soccer with the boys for hours on end, mess around in the dorms, and experience the blended schedule. Life was good, maybe too good.
“I’d usually go at least two weeks without giving my parents a call. My mom thought putting a reminder on my phone to FaceTime her every Sunday night would solve this problem, but I got really good at pressing cancel. Even when I went home for breaks, I was always with friends. I didn’t see anything wrong with this until I spoke with Nico, who was curious about how attending Shattuck has changed my values. Nico is the owner of the landscaping company I worked for and has known my parents for over ten years. He has a big family and works extremely hard to provide for them. While driving from one house to the other, he often asked me about the relationships I have made and the ones that seem to drift. He then asked me how my family feels about it and whether I miss them while away.
“I began to think about my parents, my sisters, and all we had done together. Before Shattuck, either my mom or dad would drive me to training over an hour away, four times a week, for five years from 6 in the afternoon to 11 at night. Not counting every weekend in LA for games. This was an incredible amount of time in the car away from their two daughters and all the other things they had going on. They devoted so much time to a dream that could all end with one bad tackle. This was also a huge sacrifice for my sisters, who never complained about the countless hours they spent on the road. And for that, I am forever grateful.
“By coming to Shattuck, the separation from family and the meaningful talks with Nico are what made me realize their importance and all they had done for me. When I am home, I look forward to their company and cherish the times we are all together. Life is too short and I need to make up for those missed FaceTime calls.