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.
While I was writing my speech, I considered writing about my struggles as a day student, or perhaps complaining about some of the rules here. But I concluded that the best use of your time would be to give you something that you can take with you and use throughout this school year and in the years to come.
I stand before you this morning to inform all of you, mainly you new students, how to get the most out of your time here at SSM. Returning students such as myself already have COEs, teams, clubs, and cliques, but it may prove more difficult for those of us who haven’t found our place yet. I, for one, came to Shattuck because my mom had just landed a job here. Back then, my class was filled with brand new sixth graders, and for the most part, nobody knew each other, making it a whole lot easier to make friends. One may think that it’s a whole lot different six years later, but it really isn’t.
I’ve broken my speech down into three bite-sized chunks for you to digest. The first of these is to get yourself out of your comfort zone. If the first thing that you do when you get done with your school day is play Counter Strike, don’t limit your group of friends to people who only play Counter Strike. If you’re in the hockey COE, don’t just hang out with your team. If you take Latin 5, don’t just hang out with the other students in Latin 5. Seriously. I’m the only student in Latin 5 this year, and hanging out by myself after school has been a complete disappointment.
You also want to try new activities you wouldn’t normally consider doing. For example, you could go horseback riding in a module, go to Valleyfair, or perhaps join the magic club. You want to get out there and expose yourself to new people and unfamiliar activities, and get involved with the community. Take advantage of what’s here. I didn’t get involved with anything seriously until my sophomore year, so don’t be worried if it takes you awhile to find something that fits you.
In my case, I found my niche in the tech crew. Ever since I first heard about the tech crew in the sixth grade, I knew that I was going to be a part of it. I started hanging out with people in the crew, despite being three to four years younger than them, and eventually I made it into the booth myself. Sadly, you have to be a freshman in order to officially be in the tech crew, so they graduated before I could work in a show with them. Since then, I’ve helped out with numerous productions, and have received the Rosauer Technical Award two years in a row–not to brag or anything .
Take these first few weeks to get your feet wet with your after school activities, just as some of you have done with dropping in and out of classes. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always find something else that you may like.
So get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Keeping all that in mind, my third point is a reminder not to go too far. You don’t want to get into things that’ll get you into trouble. Towards the end of my first year here, I found a group of friends to hang out with. We’d all go to one of their dorm rooms and play video games, until one day, we took it too far. All I’m going to say is that Minecraft can get pretty intense, and one of us ended up with a black eye. All of us got into detention the following weekend, so take my advice and remember that it’s all just a game. Remember that the next time you feel like physically injuring someone on the field or ice.
If you take anything away from what I have told you, remember that you need to get out of your comfort zone, try new things, and play it safe. That’s my sage advice to all of you from a sixth year senior.