A Blessed and Wonderful Afternoon at Holy Cross Separate School in Malton Today

Upon arriving at Holy Cross Separate School in Malton today, I was warmly greeted by Ms. Lonardi, the school’s head secretary.  While waiting in the school foyer, staff would pass by and warmly greet me with a smile and a friendly, “Hello”. Before long, Ms. Graci, the principal, came out into the foyer and happily greeted me too. She asked, what was needed for my presentation and graciously escorted us into the gymnasium.

Shortly thereafter, Mr.  Florio and Mr. Ruso, two school teachers came into the gymnasium to help set up their school equipment for my public speaking presentation.  They both worked together and set it all up in no time.  I really appreciated all they did for me. They even introduced me to a grade eight student, Rose, who kindly volunteered to assist me during the question period.

While waiting for the students, I met a few more teachers while in the gym. Mr. Compagne, the school librarian, was one of them and he made me feel most welcomed.

As Mr. Cornwall’s grade six class entered the gymnasium, I was elated to recognize him, as he was a former Loyola Secondary School teacher, while I was a student there.  He recognized me at first glance and it was very heartwarming to see him there.

It did not take long for the gymnasium to fill with all the grade six, seven and eight students. When Mr. Masse, the vice-principal, entered the gymnasium, he came over to introduce himself and to meet me too. Following this, he provided a wonderful and personal introduction to all the students, highlighting how we all have a story to tell, and how I was about to present mine.

During my presentation, the students were very interested in what I had to say, and they were all most attentive.

For the question period, Rose jumped into action, moving rapidly around the gymnasium as students raised their hands to ask questions.

I thanked the audience for having me at their school to present as a public speaker. Mr. Cornwall, on behalf of everyone there, thanked me for speaking to all the students, he beautifully expressed how he had recognized me as a student from Loyola and he made poignant highlights from my presentation, as takeaways for all the students.

Before leaving the gymnasium. all students completed Exit Tickets, below are a few excerpts from some of them:


Today I heard/saw… “a young girl named Giselle. She talked about her story and taught us about her.”

This made me think…” That no matter who you are or what you do we are all the same and all children of God.”

Now, I wonder…” How she feels and why she decided to become a public speaker.”

Today I heard/saw… “that just because you are different you can still be determined and never give up even if you are facing some changes.”

This made me think… “I should never take anything for granted. I should be very grateful for what I have.”

Now, I wonder… “how she is able to do sports and how she was able to have a fun childhood.”

Today I heard/saw… “A strong and powerful person. -Facing challenges but there are people out there to help.”

This made me think… “-just accept people for who they are – help people with their challenges”

Now, I wonder… “How many people needed my help when I couldn’t help.”

Today I heard/saw… “that everyone’s life isn’t easy”

This made me think… “how I can help people around the world”

Now, I wonder… “how hard was it growing up and how was it making friends”

Today I heard/saw… “I heard that people are here to help, and that everyone goes through hard times.”

This made me think… “about how everyone needs each other to live life to the fullest.”

Now, I wonder… “How people that are going through hard stuff than me get through it.”

Today I heard/saw… “that everyone is special in their own way.”

This made me think… “People with a disability have it much harder in life but we are all the same and need people. Because God doesn’t make mistakes”

Now, I wonder… “I wonder how it would feel to have a disability”

Today I heard/saw… “this amazing lady come and speak @ my school and helped me realize that I am a creation of God and that I CAN make a change.”

This made me think… “that I should try hard to make a change not only with my community but in the world.”

Now, I wonder… “how do you guide people so well? This presentation has mentally helped me. Thank You! always stay positive!”

Today I heard/saw… “-We aren’t islands -It’s okay to ask for help -Positivity is key”

This made me think… “-I want to help others as others help me. -Negativity is irrelevant”

Now, I wonder… “-How many people out there aren’t accepting the help they need? -How can I help others stay positive?”

Today I heard/saw… “-We all matter -Everyone needs help in life -To be your best self”

This made me think… “How hard it is for people with disabilities to get through life.”

Now, I wonder… “Now I wonder how it feels to have a disability and what they go through”

Today I heard/saw… “People are born in their own way and we don’t need to discriminate just because of that.”

This made me think… “-we should be more respectful towards others -we should always help people in times of need – All for one and one for all”

Now, I wonder… “people who are born different are brave, strong and good hearted and people like them are never recognized throughout the world.”

Today I heard/saw… “Someone with challenges (visible, physical & mental) however through her story I’ve learned that she overcame the hardships”

This made me think… “that no matter what challenge I have, I’ll overcome it and I have many people that support me. Positivity is what’s needed in this world.”

Now, I wonder… “how many people I can help and affect; how one person can start an impact chain. How people can stay negative; how other people view the world. There’s no limit to positivity -Something little can make a big impact”

Today I heard/saw… “A positive public speaker who has had many challenges.”

This made me think… “that everyone has problems and we shouldn’t be scared to ask for help.”

Now, I wonder… “How someone could stay so positive in life, even though there are rough spots.”

Today I heard/saw… “I’ve seen the way she communicates, and she inspires me to try harder.”

This made me think… “That everyone is the same and we should all treat others the same way we want to be treated”

Now, I wonder… “how it feels like to change”

Today I heard/saw… “we were all made by God and God doesn’t make mistakes.”

This made me think… “life is more precious than I previously thought.”

Now, I wonder… “If this quote will change my thoughts about life itself.”

Today I heard/saw… “an incredible story”

This made me think… “that all challenges no matter how impossible they seem are possible”

Now, I wonder… “how much more success you will achieve”

Today I heard/saw… “I saw a lady named Giselle and she was in a wheelchair and heard about herself.”

This made me think… “How lots of people are special, and how she is so confident to be in front of lots of people.”

Now, I wonder… “How she has all this confidence to go to schools to school to speak to all these kids.”

Today I heard/saw… “-Everybody needs help -We all matter -Always be yourself”

This made me think… “-about how people with disabilities feel -like I should feel better about myself”

Now, I wonder… “-How I could have the same amount of self-love -How difficult it is to be a public speaker”

Today I heard/saw… “I saw an angel from God”

This made me think… “that anyone or anything is possible”

Now, I wonder… “if I could make a difference”

Today I heard/saw… “that someone can face challenges together”

This made me think… “Getting help can give you strength to face challenges.”

Now, I wonder… “How other many options can help you to face some challenges.”

Today I heard/saw… “-Giselle Gaylie – She faces many challenges in her life and she deals with them bravely”

This made me think… “If she can face all these tough challenges, I too can solve my own challenges I face in a positive way.”

Now, I wonder… “How can I solve my own challenges and others in a good positive way just like Giselle. Thank you, Giselle Gaylie!”

Today I heard/saw… “don’t let anyone bring you down”

This made me think… “that everyone is different”

Now, I wonder… “If people will care about everyone no matter how they look or act”

Today I heard/saw… “An awesome, wonderful speaker”

This made me think… “that everyone is awesome by being different”

Now, I wonder… “What is your favourite colour?”

Today I heard/saw… “A presentation about, how to be kind, and how to get help if I need it.”

This made me think… “about how we could all be a little bit nicer and more helpful.”

Now, I wonder… “How I can make a change by being nicer and how, when I need help, I’ll ask for it.”

Today I heard/saw… “about how you should never let anything stop you”

This made me think… “about how grateful I should be”

Now, I wonder… “if I can be as motivated as she is and never give up”

Today I heard/saw… “How Giselle lived her life like everyone despite her disability.”

This made me think… “How I should be grateful about how God made me.”

Today I heard/saw… “Someone who faces struggles in their day to day life and is very strong”

This made me think… “if I can get through my difficulties as well as she does.”

Now, I wonder… “if I can apply her ways of going through her issues the same way she does.”

This made me think… “That nobody should get treated different from anyone.”

Now, I wonder… “Why people still get treated different from others.”

Today I heard/saw… “That through God anything is possible. Also, I saw the most beautiful person in the world, that gave an inspirational speech.”

This made me think… “to always be thankful for the life God has given you, and for who you are.”

Now, I wonder… “how she feels when presenting her speech at other schools.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle talk about her challenges and how she overcame them”

This made me think… “Maybe we work better together”

Now, I wonder… “how are future will be if we work together to improve it”

Today I heard/saw… “an amazing woman who has overcome great challenges delivering a message of being positive!”

This made me think… “anyone is capable of being open to help and can overcome challenges”

Now, I wonder… “what other incredible things will you do in your life Giselle!”

Today I heard/saw… “I heard the amazing story of Giselle Gaylie. She is so positive and doesn’t let her disabilities change who she is and wants to be”

This made me think… “of how grateful we should be for all that we have in life because every day we are blessed.”

Now, I wonder… “How did she overcome her disabilities and become the positive and motivational speaker that she is today?”

Today I heard/saw… “Someone new who is not scared to say who she is”

This made me think… “it’s ok to be different”

Now, I wonder… “how I can do better as well”

Today I heard/saw… “A beautiful disabled lady”

This made me think… “That you are who you are, you should not be ashamed. Everyone is awesome.”

Now, I wonder… “if she plays sports? If so how, what does she use to help her when she skates?”

Today I heard/saw… “Today I heard about all the difficult challenges Giselle faced. Giselle was a brave student.”

This made me think… “about all the bad things I did and to reflect on every bad thing I done.”

Now, I wonder… “How Giselle communicated with others at school. How Giselle got treated in high school.”

Today I heard/saw… “that I will always have help.”

This made me think… “about, do what you love.”

Now, I wonder… “if there is a way to help people with this condition.”

Today I heard/saw… “I saw that if you don’t give up you will get through anything”

This made me think… “Nothing is easy, but people are there for you.”

Today I heard/saw… “you will always have people along the way”

This made me think… “I should never let people get me down.”

Today I heard/saw… “objects that help her with her disability”

This made me think… “people with a disability are the same as normal people”

Now, I wonder… “how many people have that disability”

Today I heard/saw… “’don’t go where the path leads make your own path’” we all need love and support -cares about others -still lives a normal life -We need to love each other, and we can change the world,”

This made me think… “sometimes I only care about myself. I need to support others and love and help them. We can be more positive.”

Now, I wonder… “why is she so positive and I’m not but she is disabled and I’m not.”

Today I heard/saw… “A life story – a person who has disability”

This made me think… “that we have all the ability to do anything”

Now, I wonder… “What if this happened to me.”

Today I heard/saw… “to be a great helper and be positive”

This made me think… “to be more positive”

Now, I wonder… “to spread love and happiness”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle Gaylie”

This made me think… “We all are a team. We all make a difference in the world.”

Now, I wonder… “How can I make the world a better place?”


Although the above Exit Tickets represent only some of those received, it’s good to know, students were inspired.

Before leaving the school and while in the school foyer, pictures were taken. I met Mr. Stepanenko and Mr. DiCenso, grade eight teachers and Ms. Hamel, a grade seven teacher.  They were all present at my public speaking presentation and they all appreciated it. I met so many kind and friendly teachers at this school today.

Ms. Graci thanked me for coming to her school, and so did Mr. Masse. For me, it was truly an honour to be amongst so many wonderful and amazing students and staff at Holy Cross Separate School today. Overall, it was blessed and wonderful afternoon in Malton.