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 write to you today as a member of Shattuck St. Mary’s graduating class of 2018.
“Yeah, no kidding. The same school that had Crosby, Toews, and, most notably, your brother Kirill. I wanted to write to you back in Belarus in 2012 to let you know that you - that we - made it. I also wanted to give you a little advice.
“First, you will be visiting Shattuck-St. Mary’s soon. You’ll meet your future teachers and coaches. But to make a good first impression on your coaches, please leave your nice Blackhawks hat at home. They won’t appreciate it. In fact, never bring that hat to Minnesota. In the 2015 playoffs, the Blackhawks swept the Wild. And some people here were pretty upset.
“Second, your visit at SSM will go by really fast, and it will be the most confusing experience of your life. You will probably understand only half of what is said to you by the faculty, but you will pretend that you understand everything, just to show your dad that he did not waste money on your English tutor back in Belarus. And somehow you will use this confusion to your advantage: apparently you, or I should say we, don’t get nervous when we are very confused.
“Speaking of nerves, these will always try to get in your way. This is something everybody goes through in certain situations. And those situations will be everywhere during your high school career. From tryouts to nationals, from homework to exams. Even shaving your beautiful mustache before your first day of school will make you nervous.
“In the moments when you feel nervous and realize that something is not quite right, you need to remind yourself that you are capable of doing so much more than you think. Everything will get sorted out if you work as hard as you can. Remember that, if you step onto the rink or come to school - wherever you might be - leave your best. Never waste any time that you could have spent on improving yourself.
“And finally, you should always thank your family for everything that they do for you. You aren’t a perfect person now, and you will never be. But without the support of your family, you will never have anything to be proud of in the future.
“Just stay positive and work as hard as you can. Time will prove everything else for you.
“Hopefully, this letter will help you in the future.”
From Belarus with Love,