I haven’t met very many people that say they enjoy public speaking, but most people have to do it at some point in their life. For class, for work, or in my case for a pre-school graduation in front of 200+ people.
Last night, my mom and I delivered the commencement speech for the graduating class of 2012 at The Rise School. Rise is a program housed on the University of Alabama’s campus and educates children birth-five years. Half of the students are typically developed, and the other half have special needs. My family has been involved with Rise since my oldest brother, Ian, was born with Down syndrome 25 years ago. When my mom and I were asked to speak at graduation we were nervous, but we both knew it was just another way to give back to a program that had given us so much.
Watching Rise graduates walk across the stage to get their diplomas is an emotional experience. Many of those graduates were told they would never walk, talk, or function alongside typically developed children and there they are proving everyone wrong. It’s amazing to say the least, and I was proud to be a part of their day.