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’m lucky enough to have so many female role models in my life. But the most distinct and influential one would have to be my mom. She has taught me many lessons and makes me want to strive to be the best I can be. She’s my hero.
“Growing up, she didn’t have the most clever parents, so she worked her butt off to do what she needed to be successful. She taught herself to cook since her parents’ knowledge of cooking consisted of making grilled cheese, oatmeal, eggs, and cereal. Her parents also weren’t smart with their money, so my mom had to learn how to properly manage her finances on her own without a proper example to follow. She’s taught herself so much, stuff her parents couldn’t help her with, and honestly has one of the greatest work ethics I have ever seen. This is incredible because, if you know me, you know a great work ethic is not always one of my redeeming qualities.
“My mother has always shown a strength I have admired since I was old enough to understand it. She divorced my father when I was a child and had to struggle through that ordeal without the support she needed from her own parents. My mom was then left as a single mother of four children ranging in ages from two to eleven. Still, she battled her way through and held her head high. Knowing from experience how awful my siblings and I could be, I am still surprised that she survived that and raised us so well.
“She always had people vying for her attention at work to the point where she would be up at 4 a.m. on the phone or her computer. She’d be driving me and my siblings around to our different activities while on the phone in a meeting with her boss. Or she’d go to our baseball or soccer games and whip out her computer to fix a problem the company was having. Despite her overwhelming schedule, she always made sure to be there for us and create as many opportunities as she could, including sending me here. And instead of being grateful for this experience, I often find myself complaining about those non-blended days when I actually have to go to all of my classes.
“But in all honesty, I am happy to be here because it has brought me a few steps closer to being like my hero. Whenever I just want to go to bed rather than finish that one assignment keeping me up, I think about the sacrifices my mom had to make to give me this adventure. I think of the strength and work ethic she has exemplified throughout my life and it drives me to push through my challenges, even if it keeps me up later than I want (sorry Bella). She models all of the qualities that I want to aim for looking into my future: courage, vigor, intelligence, humor (for the most part), and above all she has the biggest heart of anyone that I have ever met. She is constantly helping others. I’ve seen her pay for the order of the person behind us during one of our frequent Starbucks runs. I’ve seen her lend a friend money so that she didn’t have to pawn off her wedding ring to provide for her family. I’ve seen her help someone buy a house, the first house their kids had ever lived in.
“This is the type of person I aspire to be, and I want everything I do the rest of my year here and beyond to reflect that.”