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.
“The beginning, as all beginnings, is difficult. Especially here in a new country, with a new language and new people, actually a new life. As you can see, the word “new” is deeply present in my life, but believe me, the old things are what make me go forward. They are like fuel for my motivation to keep going.
“My old and continuous love for my family is one example of those old things. The sensation of being cared for by them, even more than five thousand miles away, is something indescribable. Their effort to order a few cupcakes for me on my birthday and ask the Cakery to rewrite their Portuguese letters on a birthday card for me is something that I will never forget. I think it was the only day that I cried here at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, but at least, it was for a good reason. This is how the old and familiar support me as I move forward.
“My family makes me remember another old feeling, the feeling of being a Brazilian. Yes, Brazil is not perfect, struggles with poverty, corruption, robberies… and everybody complains about it. But only when I left my country, I could see how good it is. The affection, happiness, energy, and passion of my people are remarkable. For example, this week Carnaval is happening in Brazil, and actually, I don’t know why we celebrate, but we celebrate a lot! People go to the beach, enjoy their time with family, friends, dance in the streets and enjoy a week without stress and work. We say that the year only starts after Carnaval, so we can go back to our routine more relaxed after enjoying a few days.
“I could stand here and complain that I lost Carnaval, lost time with my family and friends, all while I’m here freezing in Minnesota, but I have the old feelings that I was talking about. They move me forward.
“This third feeling is gratitude. I know a lot of people talk about it in their senior speech, so we can see how important it is… how important is to say thank you to somebody who did something special for you, something for which you are grateful. Sometimes you forget to be thankful for what you have because you are only worried about what you want in the future. So I want to say a sincere thank you to everybody who was part of my life, family, friends, teammates, coaches, teachers… This year, I have moved forward in my world outlook, in language, in sport, in becoming a world citizen, and it is you who shaped me. I am grateful for that and everything you have done for me.
“If I could leave a message for you, I would say to follow your feelings forward. Sometimes you can make bad choices and struggle with it, but only you know what is good for you. I hope in the end I see how worthy these decisions based on my feelings were for my life. I really expect to achieve my dreams in the future, moving forward but always following these old beliefs.”