College Grad With Disability Delivers Riveting Commencement Speech

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May 22, 2014 1:43pm PST

It’s graduation season again! Many proud parents are tearing up as their not-so-little ones don their cap and gown and receive a coveted diploma. High school seniors have stars in their eyes as they embark on the journey of the rest of their lives and college grads are crossing their fingers that they’ll get a job worthy of the small fortune spent on their higher education.

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It is also the season for epic speeches made at respected universities to throngs of graduating 20 somethings. Many of these speeches are made by celebrities or politicians – whomever the school had enough pull to bring in. One such speech is really standing out, but not because it’s author is famous.

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This graduation speech made by Indiana University student Parker Mantell has garnered over 200,000 YouTube views. Give it a listen and you’ll understand why.

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Parker isn’t just another standout student. He overcame a lot to stand in front of his graduating class and deliver the speech. You see, he’s had a stutter his entire life. At times the disability was hard to handle. Despite this hurdle, though, Parker boasts a resume of accomplishments which any young man would give his left leg for.

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  • He graduated from Indiana University with a major in Political Science, a minor in Public Management, and a certificate from the Political And Civic Engagement Program.
  • He completed an internship in the Washington D.C. office of House Majority leader Eric Cantor, where he answered thousands of phone calls, despite his stutter.
  • On behalf of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, he conducted tours of the U.S. capital.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie employed him to make thousands of outreach calls, even with his disability.
  • He completed an internship with Fox News.
  • He completed an internship with the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Heck, I’d kill to have that lineup!

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Parker urged the 17,000 other graduating students at his commencement ceremony on May 10th to go after their dreams:

“Beethoven was deaf; imagine if he had never dared to listen to his calling to compose music. Ray Charles was blind; imagine if he had never dared to envision that he could touch the keys of a piano. Albert Einstein was dyslexic; imagine if he had never dared to embrace seeing things differently by formulating equations. FDR couldn’t walk; imagine if he had never dared to run.”

Parker’s determination and bravery in spite of his setback is truly inspiring. Public speaking is a huge fear for many people and this young man conquered it even with his stutter. Let us know what you thought of his inspirational speech in the comments section!

H/T: Tell Me Now

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