Beautiful Day Public Speaking at St. Benedict Elementary School to Grade 6, 7 & 8 Students

The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day for a lovely drive to St. Benedict Elementary School in Orangeville this morning. When I arrived at the school’s main doors, they were kindly opened by Mr. Lise, the principal, who greeted us right away with a very warm welcome.  We were immediately introduced to Ms. Thompson, the vice-principal and Ms. Lawrence, the custodian, who were right there in the school’s foyer to warmly greet us too.  What an honourable and memorable reception!

Ms. Lawrence happily directed me to the elevator, where she helped to operate it one floor down, where the school’s gymnasium is situated.

Before entering the gymnasium, Mr. Lise introduced me to Liam C. and Liam B, grade 8 and 7 students respectively. Together, they worked to set up the projection screen, projector and sound system. Two desks from Ms. Carson’s class, a grade 7/8 teacher, were used. One to accommodate the school’s projector and the other my laptop. Logan, a grade 7 student, came in to the gymnasium a little later and was instrumental in getting the patch cord connections working as required with the stereo speakers, at a time, where some sound difficulties were being encountered.   Mr. King, grade 6/7 teacher, came in to check on the young men a couple of times and to offer guidance, to us all, which was very kind and most helpful of him too.

Shortly after everything was set up nicely, sounds check and all, staff and students from all the grade six, seven and eight classes started to arrive into the gymnasium. Mr. Lise welcomed the students and introduced me as a guest speaker.  Throughout my presentation, everyone was most attentive.

For the Question Period, that followed my presentation, Liam C. volunteered to wear my FM microphone around his neck, which I appreciated very much, and to hold the hand-held wireless microphone to assist with the student’s questions, as they raised their hands. During this period, I happily answered as many questions, for which there was time.  Mr. Lise helped to direct and to channel the questions asked.  They were all very good questions. Evelyn, a student, spoke on behalf of all students of how inspired they felt from my presentation.  Her beautiful words made me smile.

Below are excerpts from some of the students Exit Tickets:

Today I heard/saw … “-She has many disabilities and some we can’t see. -It’s not a bad thing to have a disability.”

This made me think … “That there are other people like her in the world and we should treat them like we treat each other.  Thank you so much for telling your story!”

Now, I wonder … “I wonder if she gets much more practice with her walking will she be able to walk on her own one day.”

Today I heard/saw … “A presentation by a disabled woman about her challenges at school and how she tackled them.”

This made me think … “made me think about things I do that may be small, but largely affect others.”

Now, I wonder … “what are some ways I can better myself? Are there ways I’ve hurt others without realizing?”

Today I heard/saw … “that she has a condition that does not let her do certain things. – that you should ask for help.”

This made me think … “That no matter what happens don’t give up.  She is very motivated.  Reminds me of a book I read. She seems like a really nice person that I would like to be with.”

Now, I wonder … “how old is she? What does she do in therapy?”

Today I heard/saw … “What I heard today was the challenges Giselle went through and how strong she is.”

This made me think … “that she is more than what you see.”

Now, I wonder … “What she will be doing in the future?”

Today I heard/saw … “Giselle and I learned that we all have to overcome challenges and if we work together then we can change the world.”

This made me think … “How many conditions do you suffer from? What is your condition called?”

Now, I wonder … “Does Giselle still have challenges that she tries to overcome? How long did it take for Giselle to overcome these challenges?”

Today I heard/saw … “Giselle talked about her life and her challenges she went through.”

This made me think … “that she was brave, and she did wonderful things.”

Now, I wonder … “Can I do this? Also, what challenges do people struggle with.”

Today I heard/saw … “Giselle, although facing many challenges from her disability was able to persist through it, mostly with the help from others.”

This made me think … “No matter what challenges you face there will always be someone to help you along the way.”

Now, I wonder … “Are there challenges that you may face on your own? If so, How?”

Today I heard/saw … “About Giselle Gaylie and the challenges that she had to face.”

This made me think … “that we should be ourselves and help others along the way.”

Now, I wonder … “What can people do to make the world an even better place.”

Today I heard/saw … “that we might feel alone sometimes, but we always have people there for us.”

This made me think … “that even if you have a disability you can still overcome any challenge.”

Now, I wonder … “That I can do anything no matter how hard it will be.”

Today I heard/saw … “A girl named Giselle was born premature and has some disabilities but is a public speaker. Most of her disabilities are not visible but she still struggles with them.”

This made me think … “-Did Giselle get bullied in school? -Does Giselle have best friends? (I think she does.) -Was Giselle able to talk before when she was younger?”

Now, I wonder … “How did Giselle accept her disabilities and how many challenges did Giselle have to go through in school and with her disabilities? How old is she?”

Today I heard/saw … “An inspiring life story that made me think …”

This made me think … “About how I can offer more help to people who need it.”

Now, I wonder … “How I can be more confident in helping others and asking for help.”

Today I heard/saw … “Be myself. I saw all of the support Giselle got from her family and friends, and heard that it’d okay to ask for help when you need it. I always have to believe in myself.”

This made me think … “about how hard life would’ve been with this disability and all of the challenges you would have to face every day.”

Now, I wonder … “what can I do to make the lives of people like this better? How can I overcome obstacles like Giselle?”

Today I heard/saw …” I heard that Giselle overcame challenges by believing in herself and getting help, and that helping one another is beautiful. She will never give up. She is better because of the people that helped her. Giselle reminds us that God is important and loves us.”

This made me think … “That it doesn’t matter who you are or your abilities, you can get help no matter what and God still loves you and we all matter. Don’t hold myself back. We should always believe in yourself.”

Now, I wonder … “I wonder if I can overcome challenges as well as she could. I hope that I can be brave enough to ask for help and give help if I or someone else needs it.”

Today I heard/saw … “We can change the world. To be yourself and help one another.”

This made me think … “People should love relationships more than ever.”

Now, I wonder … “Why people don’t care as much as they did.”

Today I heard/saw … “Thank you. A brave human who never gave up.”

This made me think … “I need to stand up and encourage people who has disability or is getting bullied.”

Now, I wonder … “how a person can be so brave. Keep going you are very inspiring.”

Today I heard/saw … “I heard that I should try to be more helpful and kinder to people at my school”

This made me think … “This made me realize that hard work pays off if I really try.”

Now, I wonder … “I wonder how Giselle writes or if she uses a type of communicator.”

Today I heard/saw … “about how others help us succeed.”

This made me think … “I shouldn’t fear asking for help.”

Now, I wonder … “Maybe I should be seeking help more often.”

Today I heard/saw … “What I heard today Giselle talking about her school life. She talked about a positive mind set in school.”

This made me think … “This made me think that having a positive mind set in school can help you.”

Now, I wonder … “Now, I wonder if I do have positive mind set would help me with my work and not put me down when I get a bad mark.”

Today I heard/saw … “That God made us, and that God makes anything possible. God doesn’t make mistakes.”

This made me think … “This made me think we should never judge anyone.”

Now, I wonder … “how could we be our best selves?”

Today I heard/saw … “Today I saw that Giselle was always happy and smiling.”

This made me think … “This made me think that all of us can make a difference.”

Now, I wonder … “I wonder how she didn’t quit and give up.”

Today I heard/saw … “Giselle speak about working together.”

This made me think … “We should work harder and that it’s amazing the impact she’s had despite her disabilities. “

Now, I wonder … “How I can change to make life more positive.”

Today I heard/saw … “How she had overcome many obstacles.”

This made me think … “that no wonder what obstacles you face there is always a bright side.”

Now, I wonder … “Why we don’t all treat people with respect.”

Today I heard/saw … “You are never alone no matter what you are going through.”

This made me think … “How many nice things can we do during our life?”

Now, I wonder … “What I can do to be better?”

I’m glad that my public speaking presentation gave this wonderful audience much to positively consider.

Before I left, Liam C. helped to bring up my portable speaker. What a very helpful young man he was throughout the morning! Ms. Lawrence, with her cheerful disposition, happily escorted me back to the elevator and directed it back up to the main floor.  At the foyer, Mr. Lise, the consummate gentleman, thanked me again for my presentation. He said, it was an “honour” to have me there, before I left this blessed St. Benedict school.

As I left, Ms. Desbottes, an appreciative school staff, came out to thank me for my presentation too.