Senior Speeches: Gracie Ostertag

February 09, 2018


“Hockey’s taught me how to stay positive and, no matter what the circumstance, make the most of things. A positive attitude spreads like wildfire, jumping from tree to tree, and a simple smile or hello can make all the difference in a person’s day.”

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.

Gracie Ostertag

“I believe sports are tools to guide us through this unique journey of life. Like Serena Williams says, “The lessons learned in sports will help you win beyond the field.” Sports test us, helping to build our character and push us to become something much greater than just an athlete. Hockey led me to this one-of-a-kind school, and I’m very fortunate for that. My only selfish complaint is wishing my friends would stay here for all their years of high school. But I realize we have some talented kids come out of this place; so I don’t blame them for doing what’s best for themselves. Like me, they are following their dreams, wherever they may take them.

“As a young girl, I remember standing board side of my hometown hockey rink with my dad, admiring the older boys for their speed and physical play. I knew right then I wanted to be a Shakopee Saber like my older brother. Dad denied my wish multiple times since he only saw me as his little gymnast. But I was a driven girl whom nobody wanted to upset; the type of kid who digs screwdriver holes in the end of her bed frame and bathroom wall or slams a baby cradle against the corner of a room until the drywall is destroyed. I didn’t back down, and my dad finally gave in, probably thinking I would try hockey and hate it. So at the age of six I began to play the sport that has entirely changed my life.

“Life was good being active in two different sports, and when it came time to choose between hockey and gymnastics, I was devastated. This was a tough choice, but standing here today; I’m so grateful for how things turned out. Frankly, it’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made, second only to enrolling at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. This sport has educated me in more valuable life lessons than school ever could.

“Hockey’s taught me how to listen. I’ve had to learn to be coachable, apply advice from mentors, try new things, and learn to make the uncomfortable comfortable.

“It’s taught me respect. I have to accept defeat from my opponents, learn from my mistakes, and honor my teammates as they push me to get better everyday.

“Hockey’s taught me how to stay positive and, no matter what the circumstance, make the most of things. A positive attitude spreads like wildfire, jumping from tree to tree, and a simple smile or hello can make all the difference in a person’s day.

“Hockey’s taught me how to observe; to watch and learn from others, taking into account the good and the bad.

“It’s taught me how to be supportive; giving your teammate a nudge and saying, “You’ll get the next one,” or a simple knucks for one heck of a pass. I’ve found that encouraging my friends allows them to feel confident with themselves and gives them reassurance that they are not alone. I have learned to ask myself, “What kind of teammate or person do I want to be?”

“Hockey’s taught me how to work hard; emptying the tank each time I leave the ice, giving maximum effort and being the best version of myself I can be.

“Lastly, hockey’s taught me that getting up at 5:45 isn’t that bad… because each day, I get to do what I love with a bunch of girls that make pretty good friends.

“Hockey has surrounded me with lifelong friends. It’s given me laughs, tears, times of frustration, and times of joy. Hockey has made me appreciate my family. A big thanks to my brothers for letting Mom and Dad drag you out to support my games. Thanks to my parents for the late nights, early morning drives, new gear, and the all around support! I love you guys!

“I can’t thank Shattuck enough for all the great people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had here. I plan to soak them in and participate in everything my schedule allows. You sophomores may think you have time, but you don’t! It’s hard to believe how fast high school goes by, so when Kenny Chesney says “Don’t Blink,” I recommend you hear him out. Thank you!”

  • News Image