Sef Scott, an autistic high school senior who is usually nonverbal, surprised everyone at the Plano High School graduation ceremony when he stepped up to the microphone to deliver a speech.
Scott began by saying that he is a student with learning differences, specifically, “autism and a social communication disorder.” Scott further clarified, telling the audience while his vocabulary and speaking ability were at average levels it is not a normal thing for him to electively speak.
Despite this, Scott went on to speak for nearly 6 minutes. Before launching into his heartfelt speech, Scott showed he had a sense of humor, too.
“We all share one thing in common for sure. We all made it,” he told the graduates. “And how do I know that? Well, it’s kind of obvious. You’re all here with me at a graduation ceremony wearing those caps and gowns. Yes, I have autism, but I am also a smart alec. Unexpected, right?”
via CBS News:
Scott explained that his brother, a brain tumor survivor, began giving speeches at events to raise money for various children’s charities. He said his brother and mother helped him write his graduation speech sentence by sentence to make his voice heard.
Along with his powerful message about being and doing the unexpected, he also cracked a few jokes. “We all share one thing in common for sure. We all made it,” he told the graduates. “And how do I know that? Well, it’s kind of obvious. You’re all here with me at a graduation ceremony wearing those caps and gowns. Yes, I have autism, but I am also a smart alec. Unexpected, right?” This line earned him second — but not final — round of applause.
All jokes aside, Scott offered some advice on how to do the unexpected. Standing in line a restaurant? When your name is called, let the people behind you go first, he says. “That simple gesture could brighten what could have been a gloomy day.” Bought tickets to an event in advance and suddenly not be able to make it? Donate your tickets, he suggested. And pause to say “thank you for doing a great job” to the person with special needs who bagged your groceries.
After his speech, Scott received a standing ovation.