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.
“Good morning. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is King Liu, and this my fourth year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Time goes by really fast, and now here I am, on this stage.
“I still remember the day I first got here. Most of you passed through the arch, but for me, the GPS gave us a wrong lead, so we ended up at the garbage area in the back of Whipple. Of course, my first impression was not pleasant. But things got quickly changed. I felt welcomed and was surrounded by students, faculty members, and proctors. My nervousness vanished, and very soon I fit to my new environment without much difficulties.
“One thing that impacted me so much at SSM is change. I cannot believe how much I have changed in these four years already. I don’t know when I started to feel discomfort if I didn’t shoot some baskets on Friday and Saturday night. I don’t know when the blended schedule made me think that Friday is part of the weekend. I don’t remember when Depot, Mizuki Fusion, and the food from the dining hall became my standard by which I decide if a restaurant’s food is good or bad.
“Change is powerful. Some changes can be easily adapted to, but others can be difficult. For example, like all international students, I struggled with language and cultural difference when I first got here. Back home, I was taught to say “How are you” followed by “fine, thank you, and you?” when I met people. Here, I totally had no idea how to respond when someone said to me, “What’s up?”
“I also experienced absolute frustration with Mr. Inman’s Webassign assignment in AP Chem last year. In addition, there was the change of living 8,000 miles away from home and being separated from my beloved family. After coming to the United States, I realized that my family is the most important part of my life. There is an expression in English that says, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In my case, that has turned out to be true.
“The world is always changing. This country, this school, and us - we are always changing. We are no longer the same kids we were when we first arrived on campus. To paraphrase Murphy’s law, whatever can change, will change.
“Once again, change can be difficult. I believe all of you have encountered similar situations at SSM. The important thing is how you adjust to change. I attended a basketball training camp in China over break, and my coach changed my shooting form. After missing some easy layups with my new form, using my bilingual advantage, I started to swear in English. To my amazement, my coach understood me! He told me, “Dropping the F-bomb will not help you much. Instead, you should trust the training, trust yourself, think what you can do better, work with extra effort, and adapt a bit at a time.” That is how we can all cope with change.
“Also, it is crucial to remember who you are, where you are from, and what you are here for. A wise man once said, “不忘初心，方得始终.” Translated from the Chinese, this means, “The very beginning mind itself is the most accomplished mind of true enlightenment.” Thank you!”