Senior Speeches: Family Leads the Way

February 16, 2017


“Life can completely change at any given moment, which is why I can’t take any of these moments for granted.”

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.

Periodically throughout the 2016-2017 school year, we will share excerpts of those speeches with the SSM community, and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.


“When I was only four years old, my grandma suffered from a very severe stroke. Her motor control and balance have been impacted severely and she is nearly completely blind. Everyday tasks have become almost impossible. This has taught me that life can be extremely unfair, and the worst things can happen to the best people. Her situation has also shown me that life can completely change at any given moment, which is why I can’t take any of these moments for granted.

“I was too young to remember my grandma before the night of her stroke, or even the years that followed immediately after, but what I do know about her is unique. Aside from how the stroke has affected her appearance, you would never be able to tell that she was suffering. To me, this is quite impressive given the conditions she has to live with, and the fact that feeling sorry for oneself would be the easy route to take. Never does she complain or accept help if she felt it would inconvenience anyone. This everlasting positive attitude has made me an overall more positive person.

“… Her incredible determination that she continues to have has taught me that I can never give up, especially in the aspects of life that are most important to me.

“Not only do I have my grandma to thank for showing me how rough and unfair life can be, but she has also showed me that you can always find positivity in negative situations. And it is this positivity that I try to live with and try to bring to others.”

- Aerin Frankel

Someone who has been there for me through everything is my mother. Being an only child, and distanced from my whole family, I haven’t had many people for support. But I knew that I could count on my mother.

“…My mom has taught me to not give up on what I really want in life, and that with hard work and dedication anything can be possible. She has always stuck by my side no matter what and for that I will be eternally grateful. At times we can get on each other’s bad side, but that is just how life goes. I do not know how I will be able to fully repay my mother for all that she has done for me. And I am extremely lucky to have her.”

- Carlos Soto Merchan

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