P-Cubed Speech

October 20, 2021

Theme: I Am a Pioneer

Good afternoon everyone. My name is Ben Chase and I am a senior here at Saint John’s. I come from the town of [redacted], which is about 30 minutes south of here.

Being a Pioneer is more than just coming to Saint John’s every morning and leaving as soon as the day ends. Some of my greatest days as a Pioneer are the days I’m here until 6, 7, 8, 9, and even 10 o’clock at night. (For those wondering, my latest is 10:35.)

I struggle with social anxiety on a day to day basis. This means that it is often hard for me to gain the confidence to try something new or go meet new people. I am fortunate enough to attend Saint John’s, where the process of joining something new is easy and comfortable. Thanks to getting involved with various different clubs, many more doors have opened up for me and set me up for success in the future.

When I started my freshman year here, I didn’t know anybody here. I was the only one to come from my middle school in [redacted], but luckily there were many others in a similar situation. My first friendships here were with those I sat near in a few of my classes. A couple of those peers are some of my best friends to this day. I stayed after school in the library most days with those also waiting for their parents to arrive, and got to know more people that way.

I was also fortunate enough to have Mr. Paul as my freshman year religion teacher, who told me and my classmates about P-Cubed at the beginning of the year. He encouraged everyone to attend, and I was one of his students that attended. I was told to keep this talk on the shorter end, so I won’t go into full detail about the first couple P-Cubeds, but P-Cubed became a place where it was safe for me to share whatever stories I had to tell. I ended up gaining a lot of confidence that year through P-Cubed that I started giving talks like this one in front of the entire large group towards the end of the year. Those talks helped me break out of my shell and overcome some of my anxiety. Thanks to these talks, I successfully became a P-Cubed leader--one who goes above and beyond the expectations of a normal member--during my freshman year. I have continued to regularly attend P-Cubed over the following months (this is my 27th P-Cubed and my 24th as a leader).

At the beginning of my junior year, I decided to join the high school Photography Club. I had two years of experience with joining new things, but with those, I had some form of experience with the activity. I joined the Art Club with some art experience, the school newspaper with some writing experience, the Math Team with knowledge of math. However, I had no experience with photography at all. I had been asked by a friend of mine, Jack, to join the club. The Photography Club was (and still is) a very small club. There were three of us at my first meeting, and only two of us stuck around the entire year, me and Jack.

To join the club, I didn’t even need to be good at photography. I had developed the confidence from previous years of being involved in clubs at school and I had got to the point where I was perfectly fine as an inexperienced photographer in the Photography Club. All I needed was to have the will to learn something new and share my progress as time went on. I’m still not perfect in photography, but I’m much more confident than before. Our confidence helped the club grow this year, and currently we have one of the largest groups the club has seen.

About halfway through last year, a new group called the Student Arts Leadership Team was formed, and they were looking for juniors and seniors from around the different arts activities to come together to help promote and expand the arts. Thanks to my prior experience with leadership and confidence, I had received an invitation to join the group. We made a successful video series last year to inform the community about the various arts activities, and we will continue to promote the arts this year.

After three years here at Saint John’s, I’ve been a pioneer through the various activities I’ve participated in. As we transition into small groups, I invite you to think about what you hope to get out of your upcoming years here. What are your goals for these years? What kind of a legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you hope to learn about yourself? It’s okay if you don't know what your answers to these questions are. There are plenty of others around the school who are here to help you, whether that be a teacher, a friend, or even one of us leaders here today. After three years here, I’m still learning more and more about who I am and how I fit in here, and it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for those in the school.

Thank you.