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 2018-19 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’ve been wondering what has made me who I am today. What has made me stronger, more confident, and more optimistic than I ever was before? I guess it’s because I chose one of the hardest sports in the world, figure skating. What I do is about a lot more than makeup and pretty dresses.
I started skating in China when I was six years old. But the rink was shut down after a few years. So it seemed my skating life came to an end when I was eight years old because I could not find another rink close to my home.
After I came to Shattuck, I decided to start over. I did not realize how much of an impact this decision would have on my future. The first few weeks were fine. I woke up every day at five in the morning for training. But after a few weeks, it felt like I had started a “nightmare” for myself.
So many times since then I was at the edge of giving up. During my first year, I said to my roommate almost every day that I wanted to quit because I bruised my knees. During my second year, I wanted to quit because I was jealous of how my roommate could sleep in on Saturdays. In three long years, I never even made the top three in a competition.
During my third year, I had surgery on my ankle. That time, I really hesitated. It was not a major surgery, but I could not skate for four months, and I was scared of skating afterwards because I didn’t want to fall and get hurt again. With all the pain, the pressure, and the feeling of hopelessness, it was a rough time for me. However, I decided I would not give up until I broke the other ankle. Fortunately, that never happened.
After my recovery, I skated better than ever before. I won three gold medals in a row. My broken ankle didn’t beat me up; it made me stronger than ever. I’d made the right call. I’d reached just a little higher, tried a little harder, and got the first place that I dreamed of.
This is my fifth year at Shattuck, and the nightmare is over. I realize I’ve learned something important. I have become more confident and more optimistic. The first day I came here, I would cry over a bruised knee. Now I stand up every time when I have a bad fall and tell myself: “I didn’t even break a bone.” I bring all these experiences to my everyday life.
I believe all of you have something you can learn from a hobby, an interest, a sport… bring what you have learned to your life. Every fall means something. You stood up, you learned, and you kept on going. Never give up easily, because you never know what you could get if you just reach a little more. Overall, I would like like to thank my family and my friends for all the support in all these years, and I appreciate the opportunity that Shattuck has given me. Last but not least, I would like to thank my coaches who have always supported me believed in me.