Before the Class of 2015 finishes at SMUS, the Grade 12 students were treated to their final chapel service. Weekly chapel is always a chance for students to pause and think about who they are now and who they want to become. It’s a chance to consider relationships and community, as they relate to the school’s pillars. So the annual Leavers’ Chapel does that in a private way that honours and recognizes the Grade 12 students before they leave SMUS.
Mr. Kyle Shaw was asked by the graduating class to speak and provide some wisdom on behalf of the teachers. The following is an excerpt from his speech, which focuses on decision-making for today and tomorrow.
Graduation marks the end of a very important time in your life. You are literally putting behind you everything you have ever known and are embarking on a new adventure. Along your journey you have faced countless situations, as everyone does, where you had to make a decision. Whatever the outcome at the time, those decisions have helped lead you to today. You have made good choices as well as bad ones that have all, in their own way, contributed to your success and have helped define the person that you are.
During your time at the Senior School I am sure that many of you stressed about a test or an assignment or how many AP courses you should or shouldn’t take. Decisions you made when you were young, and even the decisions that you make now, are all about perspective. The same can be said about anyone in this room and the choices that we have immediately in front of us. Big decisions can and will always be a source of stress in our lives – but if we can separate ourselves and take a step back from the emotional aspect, we all have the tools to navigate any situation.
Sitting where you are today, I know that most of you have had to make some very important decisions in the last few months. Most of you know where your path will begin when you leave this campus but some of you don’t – and that’s OK. Although you may have a clear idea in your mind where you want to go and what you are shooting for, it is important to remember that the path you choose will never follow a straight line.
There is no way of knowing if a decision that you make is the best one at the time. The only piece of advice I can give you is that it is important to always look inside yourself. Get to know who you are, get to know your beliefs and make sure that you understand your core values. The greater your sense of self, the easier the decisions will seem. Also understand that intelligent and dynamic individuals such as yourselves could make a meaningful and fulfilling life at the end of almost every road. Uncertainty is what makes life exciting.
You always have to think about who you want to be.
You have to make decisions that are right for your own happiness and right for your future, but it is also important to remember that you will rarely have to make a decision on your own. There will be times in your life when you will make the choice to sacrifice your own happiness for the people that you love the most. Those choices will not necessarily be poor ones. From time to time you will make selfless decisions to provide support for your friends and family and from time to time you will need them to sacrifice things for you; however, true love and true friendship should not always come hand in hand with sacrifice. If you choose to surround yourself with the people who truly love and support you, decisions that to some may seem difficult will come easier to you.
Whatever you decide to do with the years ahead, make sure that you always surround yourself with people that enrich your life and help you make even the most difficult choices seem easier. I think I speak for all of the staff at SMUS when I say that you are the reason we do what we do. We decide to come to work every day because you bring so much to our lives. You may think that over the years we have been the ones that have been guiding you and helping you make important decisions. As you walk across the stage at graduation, I hope you understand that we have been in this together and that you have also guided us.