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.
“Like any kid growing up with their entire life ahead of them, I had a long list of dreams that I strived for. I dreamt of being a professional golfer, slipping on the green jacket on the eighteenth green at Augusta. I imagined myself as a professional hockey player, hoisting the Stanley Cup and bringing it back to my hometown to celebrate. Plain and simple, golf and hockey were the two things that I enjoyed the most, the things I wanted to be the very best at, and the things I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
“Now in my final year of high school, I am continuing to develop the idea of the journey I would like to take in life. I have a few new dreams and ambitions for the future. But I find myself starting to define ‘success’ a little differently than when I was younger. Although it is still very much about the sense of accomplishment in my career and interests, I am beginning to see that there are lots of different ways to measure success in life. Now, I know that being successful also includes being able to spend quality time with the most important people in my life, being able to enjoy every day to the fullest, and finally, having the courage to fully pursue my passions.
“This past summer I read the memoir, Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike. In it, he told the amazing story of his life and business, which started when he began selling Japanese running shoes out of the trunk of his car at high school track meets. Running was Knight’s passion. In fact, it was belief in his passion that motivated him to create one of the very best shoe manufacturers in the world. When it came to pursuing passions, Knight said, “Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt”.
“Something that I have come to understand is that a passion is beyond an interest or a hobby, but rather a strong and powerful emotion toward something. Throughout my time in school and in golf, I’ve found a passion for these two things. Unlike most people, I really enjoy going to school each day and I don’t mind sitting down at my desk for a couple hours every night doing homework. I also enjoy being out on the golf course, whether it’s a 6 a.m. tee time or a quick nine holes with my family before dinner, I never want to leave. And just like Knight said, when I’m awake until midnight doing homework or I’ve been golfing for hours, the fatigue is easier to bear, the disappointments become fuel, and the highs are like nothing I’ve ever felt.
“In coming to Shattuck-St. Mary’s, I’ve taken an important step in truly preparing for my future. My experiences here have certainly influenced my perspective on success, now so much more than just fame and fortune. Our community is filled with endless opportunities to improve personally in so many ways - as students, athletes, musicians, artists, and so much more. Our teachers challenge us on a daily basis, helping us learn and become better academically. Our coaches are never quite satisfied, constantly working with us to grow as athletes. And our faculty encourage us to always give back to the community, and explore the world outside of the classroom. The people here are truly focused on our futures, closely working with us so we can develop the tools that will help us someday achieve our dreams.
“So no matter how you define success, I encourage you to consider some of my new thinking. For me, being successful in the years to come will mean I am courageously pursuing my passions, spending time with family members and in community, and sharing exciting experiences with great friends.
“I am really excited about continuing this journey, taking what I have learned here at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and using it to pursue my passions and experience success in my life.