An Honour to Have Presented at My Alma Mater This Morning

It was an honour to be back at my Alma Mater, Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga this morning to present as a Public Speaker. I will always be wholeheartedly grateful to all the amazing extraordinary teachers here, who warmly embraced inclusive education and made me feel like a valued student in each one of my classes.  

As I entered the office, I had the warmest welcome from Ms. Koleva, my former Hairstyling and Aesthetics Teacher. As I headed towards the elevators, I saw Ms. Hutcheson, my former Gym Teacher, who was equally happy to see me.

This morning, however, I was very excited from the kind invitation from my former teacher, Mr. Bratovz, who is teaching grade twelve Human Growth and Development during first period. When I was a student here, he too, was my teacher, when I took this course. This morning, I was honoured to be invited by him, as a Guest Speaker to speak on the Relationship with Self and the Virtue of Love to his students.  While setting up in Mr. Bratovz’s class, I had the happiest pleasure of being visited by Mr. Beattie, my former Civics and Career Teacher.

Once school started, the National Anthem came on the public announcement system. Following the morning reflection, Ms. McFadden, the School Chaplain, welcomed me, a former graduate, to the whole school.  I was extremely flattered by it. 

During my public speaking presentation, Mr. Bratovz’s awesome students keenly and attentively listened. A question period ensued. In closing, Mr. Bratovz expressed how very much he really appreciated my public speaking presentation. He highlighted, how several aspects of my presentation resonated with the themes from their recent studies.  It’s the best feeling in the world, when a teacher, whom I have respected throughout high school praises my work as a Public Speaker.

Before I left, the students completed their Exit Tickets. Below are excerpts from some of these:

Today I heard/saw… “A great presentation”

This made me think… “of my ups and downs and how I could improve my sense of self.”

Now, I wonder… “What my life would be like in her shoes.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle speak about her life and how she has thrived”

This made me think… “How I should be myself and love me for me and be who I wanna be for me”

Now, I wonder… “How can I improve my life as well as those around me”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle’s presentation on love”

This made me think… “About how I put myself down, and I should do the opposite.”

Now, I wonder… “What I should do to motivate myself.”

Today I heard/saw… “How someone is able to make their life filled with happiness and triumph despite facing challenges in life”

This made me think… “This made me think how everyone should appreciate the gifts they receive in life”

Now, I wonder… “How I will go in my life and face challenges that we must overcome”

Today I heard/saw… “Everyone Matters”

This made me think… “Everyone has unique gifts that they shouldn’t let other people bring them down for.”

Now, I wonder… “How much of a possible attitude I myself can keep through tough times and through others negative comments.”

Today I heard/saw… “* Relationship with self & virtue of love * True image of self & others     * Treat other the way you want to be treated”

This made me think… “* How people are lucky and blessed to be who they are, and it reflects who they really are as a person. (good or bad)”

Now, I wonder… “what is like to not care about negativity”

Today I heard/saw… “How Giselle fought through life.”

This made me think… “That she is a very strong girl.”

Now, I wonder… “How life is, now that she is done school and what she plans for the future.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle had a bunch of inspiring messages that really drove home how one’s challenges don’t define us.”

This made me think… “… how if Giselle can do what she wants in her own way, I can too.”

Now, I wonder… “how I can improve myself in any shape or form.”

Today I heard/saw… “- Fulfillment is love – Develop a positive attitude”

This made me think… “- This made me think about how people like Giselle feel”

Now, I wonder… “- How I would treat someone who is like Giselle, if they were my own family member”

Today I heard/saw… “her story and positive attitude towards life.”

This made me think… “about how I treat people.”

Now, I wonder… “How her brother has helped”

Today I heard/saw… “a strong, smart woman living life to the fullest”

This made me think… “anything is possible to overcome”

Now, I wonder… “how I can become so mentally strong”

Today I heard/saw… “That you should never let challenges and negative opinions get to you”

This made me think… “To never give up”

Now, I wonder… “What new things she will discover about herself as she grows up.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle talk about self reflection and acceptance, learning to not let obstacles or others weigh you down.”

This made me think… “that life is very beautiful, and everybody has a different journey. We should always be thankful for family, friends, God.”

Now, I wonder… “what kind of stuff Giselle would do in the future! Great presentation.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle’s story about self and the virtue of love”

This made me think… “About how I should not let negative comments get to me and how I can overcome struggles like Giselle”

Now, I wonder… “how I can have a more positive outlook on life and not give up so easily.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle is always happy or smiling”

This made me think… “Nothing negative should ever affect me”

Now, I wonder… “How I can help people like Giselle”

Today I heard/saw… “That Giselle is capable of communicating and living her life with cerebral palsy.”

This made me think… “Anything is possible if you dedicate yourselves”

Now, I wonder… “how she is able to communicate so well.”

Today I heard/saw… “How Giselle can do everything we can do just in a modified way”

This made me think… “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it”

Now, I wonder… “What Giselle’s goals are and what she plans for her future”

Today I heard/saw… “how Giselle lives her life”

This made me think… “that I should not worry about other’s negative comments”

Now, I wonder… “what Giselle will continue to do and how she will help people”

Today I heard/saw… “Self Reflection / Love     Can’t let negative comments keep you down.”

This made me think… “Its importance in life”

Now, I wonder… “How I will absorb the information learned today and use it in the future”

Today I heard/saw… “an inspiring presentation on the importance of self love and self in general.”

This made me think… “about how important it is to be thankful for my life everyday.”

Now, I wonder… “how I can apply what Giselle told us about to my everyday life”

Today I heard/saw… “A strong woman, talking about not letting bad comments bring her down. It is truly inspiring.”

This made me think… “Even a person with some challenges surrounds themselves with positive people, so why can’t I do the same.”

Now, I wonder… “how many people she had truly impacted, and it would be a great opportunity to get to know Giselle.”

Today I heard/saw… “fulfillment is in love -> if you have a bad sense of self, it will make you feel empty”

This made me think… “Instead of treating myself badly, I should think positively because others have faced worse and are more positive than I am”

Now, I wonder… “How Giselle came to have such innate strength and such warm love from her family.”

Today I heard/saw… “public speaker and former Loyola student Giselle”

This made me think… “about how blessed we are to be children of God and have love and faith in ourselves”

Now, I wonder… “how my future will be positively impacted with self love and God in our hearts”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle’s story and journey through school and life with obstacles that she overcame.”

This made me think… “that anything is possible, that what other people say doesn’t matter.”

Now, I wonder… “how I can change the world like she has & continues to do.”

Today I heard/saw… “a different perspective / outlook on life”

This made me think… “that life has more to offer”

Now, I wonder… “If I can use what I learned to help me in life”

Once I left Mr. Bratovz’s classroom, I went to see Ms. McFadden, the School Chaplain.  While a student here, I always enjoyed doing the school prayer twice a week over the public announcement system.  Ms. McFadden was always my greatest supporter.  It was so wonderful to see her again today.

Ms. McFadden graciously escorted me down the hall to the Planning for Independence class, where my former outstanding Educational Resource Worker, Ms. Alvarez, was busy working.  When she saw me, she came out from her classroom to greet me. We were both excited to be reunited once again.

As the end of first period was soon approaching, Ms. Alvarez took me across the hall to see my former amazing Hospitality Teacher, Mr. Habib.  He was so incredibly happy to see me. While briefly visiting his class, Ms. Van Gorp, my former Music Teacher, and remarkable school concert Music Director, came to see me too.  My heart was overjoyed to see them.

As period one ended, and I headed towards the office, I saw so many other dear teachers, who made a positive difference to me, when I was a student here:

Mr. Longo,

Ms. Lamanna, my former Math Teacher,

Ms. Donaher, Child Youth Worker,

Ms. Matyszczuk,

Ms. Fernandes, Administrative Assistant,

Ms. Heist,

Mr. DeCastro, my former Music Teacher,

Ms. D’Sa,

Ms. Healey, my former Technology Design Teacher,

Ms. Della Bianca, Administrative Assistant,

Ms. Potoczny, Vice-Principal,

Ms. Wylie, ICT Technician,  and

The Beloved School Principal.

Everyone made me feel so warmly welcomed. I could not have asked for a better visit. What a blessing it was to be at Loyola again. I am wholeheartedly thankful to Mr. Bratovz for inviting me to his class and for the privilege granted to inspire his awesome students.