Senior Speeches: Michael Vang

February 23, 2018


“I have four siblings, with me as the youngest, and my parents made many sacrifices to help us reach our goals. Even though they struggle financially to provide for all of us, they still did anything and everything they could to help us. In return, I am truly grateful.”

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.

Michael Vang

“Growing up, I always wished for something. Whether it was a new pair of cleats, a new toy, or a new video game. My parents always tried their best to make my wishes come true. Looking back at my childhood up until now, I can’t imagine what things would’ve been like without their support. I have four siblings, with me as the youngest, and my parents made many sacrifices to help us reach our goals. Even though they struggle financially to provide for all of us, they still did anything and everything they could to help us. In return, I am truly grateful.

“My dad was born in Laos, but grew up in France. He played soccer in France, but never had much support from his parents. He came to America when he was 21. Everything he did or learned was all by himself.  

“My father has always been there to help me because his own dad never could. Every day in the summer, my dad, my brother, and I would go to a local soccer dome and train. We would be there from nine in the morning until noon. We would go eat lunch and then come right back to train. Even when I was at my lowest, he didn’t give up on me. His criticism can be a little harsh sometimes, but it is better to receive it from someone who knows the game better than I do. I want to thank him for making me a better player after giving him a hard time all those years when I didn’t play my best. In 2011, he suffered from cardiovascular disease and had to go through open heart surgery. This was one of the toughest things that I ever had to witness, but I’m happy to say that he is healthy and happy again.

“My mom also grew up in Laos and came to America when she was six years old.  When I was growing up, she worked almost ten hours a day as a medical assistant at a clinic, then came home to do laundry or clean the house.  She never complained about how tired she was. It makes me feel thankful but also sorry because of how much she did for us.

“I want to thank my mom for being that cool soccer mom she always was. She went out of her way to take me to practices and games when I was little and always cheered me on. I never felt embarrassed when she screamed and carried on because it was a source of motivation and happiness for me. I’m grateful for the time and effort that she still puts in, day in and day out, to make my life better.  I love when she texts me every day to ask me how my day was, and how happy she is to see me when I come home on weekends.

“One day this year after weights, I got a long text from my brother. He told me that he had a conversation with my dad where my dad said he had a wish. He wished that one day, my brother and I would make it big so that we could get our family out of the situation we’re in now and provide them with better opportunities and a better life. This really motivates me and pushes me to improve every single day. Mom and dad, I promise you that I’ll work hard every day, on and off the field, to help make your wish come true, just like you have always done for me. Thank you.”

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