For years, I've admired the LADK program from afar; the classes are comprised of bright, philanthropic professionals eager to make a positive mark on the world. Though my heart has yearned to join this crew for awhile, year after year my hearing impaired self questioned if I was good enough to even apply.
While life with a cochlear implant is by no means perfect, I know my confidence has grown from the journey-- partially because I AM hearing better, but more so because I've shared my true self with so many. And you know what? I'm okay.
2012 was my year to join the program, and I am ecstatic to have learned what I've learned and to have met some of the greatest people I've ever encountered.
To top this all off, my LADK classmates selected me to speak at our graduation dinner, held February 21st in Lake George.
What a program, what a night, and what an honor. The speech was a game-changer for me, increasing my hopes to reach a higher level of self-acceptance than ever before.
I've received several requests for a transcript of my speech, so here it is.
Thanks to all who cheered me on and those continuing to route for me. I promise-- I'm routing for you too.
Leadership Adirondack Graduation Speech, February 21, 2013
Thank you Chamber Board of Directors and Chamber staff. Thank you to all of our supervisors, colleagues, and sponsors, to Leadership Adirondack alumni and presenters. To our family members and friends, and of course, my inspiring and talented Leadership Adirondack classmates. Thank you for trusting me to represent our class. This is a very happy evening.
|Some of the LADK class with The Chamber's Carrie Sullivan, center|
|LADK Class 2012-2013|
Collectively, we worked with twelve schools throughout Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties, enabling 449 students in our region to successfully complete Junior Achievement.
|My Junior Achievement Class of Kindergarten Students|
|At Graduation: Me and my dear friend, John Marcantonio|