Silver Ribbon

Jaime's Speech

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How I Would Make This A Better World For Special People

How many of you know what it is like to be special? - to be blind? - to be retarded? - to be deaf? - to be in a wheelchair? - to not be able to control your muscles? Not very many of you, I am sure. Yet, the school district says that ten percent of the children in Moreno Valley are in Special Education classes of one kind or another. I am one of those students and I do know what it is like to be special.

You would be amazed what special people can do. You might not be so amazed with what they want to do. They want only respect and the opportunity to do their best and to work hard. They want the opportunity to show what they can do, not to show what they can not do.

There have been many improvements for special people: handicapped parking, lifts on public buses, entrance ramps for buildings, sidewalk cutdowns, wide stalls in bathrooms with handrails, and even Special Olympics. All of these have helped to make my world better, but they were all just physical changes to the environment. There are more things to be done.

Regular people need to become more aware of special people of all kinds and to treat them with understanding and respect. One way this could be done would be for all the schools to hold assemblies about special people so that all students could learn about us and meet us. Then the regular people would not be afraid of us anymore and they would learn not to be rude or to tease us . Maybe we could even show the regular students what we really can do. For instance, I could not write out all this speech by myself because my memory for spelling and words is not very good. I told my father what I wanted to say and he helped me. But I did type a lot of it, one letter at a time, and I can read it by myself, and I memorized as much as I could. I am also a real good horseback rider and I even won a trophy last year, and I have medals in gymnastics. Other special people also have things they do real well too.

A moment ago I told you that ten percent of the students in Moreno Valley are special people. This is something we can all see if we look carefully. But this also means that ten percent of the whole community is made up of special people. It means that ten percent of the country and even of the whole world is made up of special people. That is a very large amount of the world to be treated with fear or rudeness or prejudice!

I am always telling my teachers and my family that there is one thing I really want: friends! With friends I can change the world for the better. My friends would treat me with respect and kindness they would teach others to do the same. In that way the whole world would become a better place for special people like me. Will all of you help by being my friends? I hope so!

* * * * *

In 1991, I graduated from Middle School. I then went to Valley View High School. While I was in high school, I went to three different proms. I worked as a T.A. in another special education class. The kids were three and four years old. I still did Special Olympics and won lots of medals. When I graduated from Valley View I was an Honor Student. I received a High School Diploma after all my years of hard school work. My grandparents and my mom and dad were there to see me get my diploma.

Now I do volunteer work at Frisbie Middle School on Wednesdays in the library. I also work four days a week at Valley View. I work with severely disabled young adults. Most of them can't talk, but they sure know how to hit and get mad. I help feed and clean them. It makes me feel real good knowing that I am helping other people.

I took a class this Summer at Riverside Community College. I even went to Las Vegas when I turned twenty-one. We stayed at New York, New York. It was really fun. I won a $25.00 jackpot.

Now I'm waiting to be an aunt for the first time. I hope I get to help out with him, too.

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