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.
“Thank you Ms. GM! Last year, I had no idea what I should talk about in my senior speech. I felt there were so many stories that happened in my life that I couldn’t even focus on just one. Then, right before the senior speech draft was due, I suddenly thought of my grandfather. I could talk about him for weeks. But don’t worry. I’ll try to keep it short.
“During my childhood, I liked to see my grandpa the most, not only because he brought me a lot of snacks but also because he took me out of the house and bought me toys my parents didn’t approve of. Grandpa really loves smiling, and even though he is almost 80 years old, he is still enjoying social media so much. He always asks me to teach him how to use Wechat to store funny emojis and Safari to browse the headline news, recipes, or even celebrity gossip. And that’s why I call him my trendy grandpa!
“My grandpa delivered his positive energy to me as a birthday gift on the day I was born. Being positive is the most important lesson my grandpa taught me in my life journey. He is a positive old man, and that really helps shape who I am today. Ever since I was a little kid, he always told me to stay happy and keep smiling. However, when I was younger, I believed crying was the only way to solve my problems. But as soon as I started to drop my first tear, my grandpa would demand I stop crying immediately. Then he would help me figure out real solutions to my problems.
“When my middle school career began, I was overwhelmed under the heavy school workload. I couldn’t seem to improve in my school work. I cried hopelessly when I kept failing tests. When I was struggling the most, grandpa came and sternly asked me to wipe away my tears. He gently patted my shoulder, saying that ‘It is unnecessary to cry for every little thing like this. The problem won’t go away just by your standing there and crying all day. What we should do is to solve the problem as soon as possible.’ Then he encouraged me to think positively, wait for good results, and not to rush. One of the most important things I learned from my grandpa was ‘with every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.’
“Of course, he was the first person who supported me in studying abroad. ‘Life is not all about school,’ he said. ‘There are more interesting things out there waiting for you to discover. Life is short, so step out and enjoy it.’
“Whenever I go back home, I see my grandpa’s hair is turning whiter and whiter. I know I can’t do anything to stop him growing old. But what I can do is spend more time talking to him and hanging around with him. Since I came to the U.S., we text frequently and FaceTime every weekend, sharing our stories and concerns. I can always be myself in front of my grandpa. We trust each other absolutely, and I can share everything with him. I feel like there is no generation gap between me and my grandpa, he is more like a friend to me rather an elder.
“I love you, my cool grandpa. And I miss you a lot, thank you for everything you did for me and for always being by my side. Thank you!”