The Speech

Because our high school principal detested boring speeches at graduations, the valedictorian and salutatorian did not automatically deliver graduation speeches. Instead everyone in the National Honor Society wrote a speech. Once submitted, speeches were  assigned a number to remove any bias, then a committee evaluated the speeches. I graduated neither first nor second in our class, but I did qualify to write a speech, and so, I did. To my horror, my speech was one of the chosen two.

I was a shy student, quiet and bookish. The very thought of public speaking terrified me. The speech had to be 6 minutes long and delivered without notes. The committee put me to work. I practiced this speech at school in small groups that gradually grew to larger groups. I practiced at home. I delivered it to my best friend so many times that she assured me she would give the speech if my courage failed. My fear never subsided.

At practice on the day of graduation, I stumbled over my words and forgot where I was. I felt embarrassed and humiliated. I went home and anxiously paced in my room. I prayed and prayed and then I prayed some more, and one thought came to me. I realized that when I awoke the next day, all the people who truly loved and cared for me would still love and care for me regardless of my success or failure. This truth, deep within my heart carried me to the auditorium, to the stage and finally to the podium.

~Lisa Kiel

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2 Responses to The Speech

  1. Peggy A says:

    Great reminder that we do not need to do everything perfectly to still be loved, Your fear was real, but your courage prevailed. I think you are awesome to have arrived at that conclusion at such a young age. And, I wanna hear the speech you gave!

  2. Katrina says:

    I applaud you for moving beyond your fear. I can empathize because I have that same fear and have never been able to conquer it. I guess the reality is that you didn’t have to conquer it. You lived through it with the strength and support of those who loved you. That in itself was the real life lesson. One doesn’t have to face off fear by individual will power. We find the will through those we love.
    I’m still curious about the subject of your speech!

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