May 15, 2022

Elizabeth Bonker is a young lady who has nonverbal autism. Her neuromuscular issues doesn't allow her to tie her own shoes or button up a shirt. Yet she managed to not only graduate from Rollins College but also be a valedictorian. This was in spite of her high school principal calling her a "r*tard" and stating that she would never be valedictorian.

Bonker's fellow valedictorians were gracious enough to allow Elizabeth to give this year's speech, which she typed out one letter at a time on a communications keyboard held by a partner. It is one of the most eloquent and touching speeches that I have heard. Most importantly, the main gist of the speech was not about her, but about the philosophy that life is for service and how she and her fellow graduates should keep that in mind as they enter the world and strive to keep service as an integral part of their lives and in making the world a better place.

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