Education

Graduate Delivers Speech, Even Though He Doesn't Talk

See how he did it, and hear his message that's inspiring people around the world.


Graduating from high school is a big deal. Being asked to be the graduation speaker at your high school is even bigger.

So imagine how 21-year old Ahmed Ali felt when the graduation committee at Minneapolis Public School system's Transition Plus Program asked him to give the commencement speech.

Even though he can't speak.

Ahmed is non-verbal, and has been attending the high school program for special needs students for the past three years. He made his commencement address using speech software that he developed with his speech pathologist, and the result was astounding and inspiring:

Ahmed's address was a sweet mixture of thank-you's to family, friends, and his speech teacher. "I want you to know you made a meaningful impact on my life forever," he said.

"You showed me that... people with disabilities can contribute to and make a great impact on our society." Ahmed Ali

There were also lots of laughs, like when Ahmed told his classmates he was going to give them some "free wisdom," which he went on to do with all seriousness.

"Your life is a relay race," said Ahmed. "The track is your life. Every time you achieve something you pass the baton to the next person. Guess who you are passing the baton to? It's you. Each stage of your life you are passing it to a new you. It's not the end of the line for you, but it's a new you in our beautiful world."

His wonderful message has been picked up by media outlets around the country and as far away as Europe.

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