Each year, seniors and postgraduates 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.
It is not widely known that, before I enrolled as a student in 2011, I had made a previous connection to Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
During my fifth grade year, I attended the Cannon River STEM School and skated with the Shattuck figure skating team. Essentially, I did everything that the skaters on the team did except attend the school as I was too young. My parents bought a house in Legacy Court. My dad became the director of the Faribault Youth Hockey Association. My mom continued to work from home, and my brother played hockey and attended STEM with me.
Everything seemed so right. I loved everything about my life. I woke up every morning at 5:30 to skate with the “big girls.” I loved them, and they were my everything, I wanted nothing more than to be like them. My new role models wore this brand I was unfamiliar with, Lululemon, and in my pursuit to be exactly like them, I asked my mom to take me to that store. Most of the clothes were too big, so I had to be satisfied with just a headband.
I was improving and very motivated to go to the rink and skate. I went to middle school with my class of eighteen, left during lunch to go skate again, returned to finish school with my friends, and then back to Shattuck for whatever afternoon workouts we had. My life seemed perfect, but it didn’t last for long.
Sometime after spring break of that year, I learned I would not be returning to Faribault or Shattuck the following year due to a falling out with the coach. I spent the next six years living and training in Minneapolis.
In that time, I continued to improve my skating and accomplished many things. For example, I went to Nationals twice, and I have been the Minnesota state champion multiple times. I saw many of my old Shattuck friends at competitions and camps. And part of me always wished I was still there with them. I always wondered how my life would have been different if I hadn’t left Shattuck when I did. However, in the end I don’t regret a thing.
It was a very last-minute decision to return for my senior year. I wanted to come back, but I was afraid it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered it from fifth grade. I’d been so young then, and I hadn’t even gone to classes here. Miss Lao was a senior back then, and she had certainly changed. Maybe the rest of the school had, too. Therefore, the idea of coming back to a place I once loved seemed unrealistic and frightening to me.
Coming back this year has taught me that I need to face my fears head-on and give the school a second chance. The coach I’d had trouble with was no longer here, and I now had a chance to make the most of the opportunities here. Six years later, I was in control. I am grateful to have lived this year fully without taking anything for granted, and I am beyond thankful for the people that have helped me to be where I am today.
Throughout this journey I have learned that if you leave a place you truly love never let fear get in the way of going back.