Senior Speeches: Emily Walker

November 09, 2017

“I have had the unique pleasure to grow up at and attend Shattuck-St. Mary’s thanks to my loving parents, and it has taught me countless life lessons.”

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.

Emily Walker

“Often when people ask me about growing up on campus, I shrug and say, “It’s all I’ve ever known.” This statement is technically true. I have no memory of living anywhere else, but I always feel like there is a lot more I could say about this campus and the community. It is the place I call home, and I have known some of these faculty members and teachers since I was an infant. While some things have stayed the same throughout the years, an incredible amount has changed.

“When I was a child, on any given summer day I could be seen in a herd of faculty children, running around campus catching toads, climbing trees, and seeing who could run the furthest barefoot around the loop. Often on these warm summer days, I would come back home in the afternoon whining to my mom about how I was absolutely “starving.” She would reply, “Go to the raspberry bush.”

“Back then, there was a raspberry bush right where Kim Hall now stands, and that is where I’d get most of my snacks. If it wasn’t raspberries picked directly from the branches, it was tarts, pies, or bread with raspberry jam my mom made. I’m pretty sure most of the other faculty families also lived off of those sour berries in the summers. However, things change. That raspberry bush eventually grew out of control, and they had to cut it down.

“SSM will never be the same as it was ten years ago, or even one year ago. A wise man named Heraclitus once said the only thing that is constant in life is that it changes. However, I felt like a part of SSM defied Heraclitus’s comment. Something that hasn’t changed, which binds all SSM students and alumni together. I wanted to know if this was just me or if other people have experienced this feeling as well, so with Mr. McKinley’s guidance and Ms. Schroeder’s help, I contacted some alums to try to find out what it was.

“I was delightfully surprised by the thoughtful answers I got from them. A lot of them talked about how they also felt like the campus and community contained “something” they could only describe as indescribable, which reassured me that I was not the only one who felt this way. One woman I talked to said something I thought was really beautiful: “While life at Shattuck is not exactly the same for each generation, you still hear the clock tower ring as the rest of us have, and that binds us together.” And another woman mentioned that, “Such an important part of my formative years happened at Saint Mary’s.” That is when something “clicked” in my mind. Heraclitus was right!

“Everything does change, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s is no exception. What connects every generation of SSM graduates is that they attended SSM during their rough teenage years. Growing up sucks, and it is all about changes, but when you grow up in a supportive community it makes it a little more bearable. I have had the unique pleasure to grow up at and attend Shattuck thanks to my loving parents, and it has taught me countless life lessons.

“I want to leave you with a piece of wisdom one thoughtful alum gave me: “The very last time you will be on campus with your entire class will be at graduation. There are always people who cannot make reunion for one reason or another. Don’t take it for granted while you are there…no matter how much you are ready to leave come springtime when “senioritis” sets in.” Everything changes and nothing will be the same, so enjoy the moment and don’t take it for granted. Thank you.”

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