Non-verbal student gives graduation speech

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Independent Recorder ▷

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/CBS NEWS) – A Plano teen is getting a lot of recognition for his high school graduation speech.

“My name is Sef Scott and I am a student with learning differences. To be more specific I have autism and a social communication disorder. While I have that vocabulary I do, it is not normal for me to electively speak. Just by my being here- speaking to all of you, that is unexpected,” he said.

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Sef Scott (Plano ISD)

Sef Scott is usually nonverbal but the autistic teen got up to speak to share a powerful message at the Plano Senior High graduation.  His lesson was to be unexpected in life.

Just like the unexpected speech he gave in front of his graduation class.

“Unexpected. That is what I want you to remember. Unexpected,” Scott began his speech. “First and foremost, I would imagine that to the seniors that know who I am that it is entirely unexpected that I would be standing here giving this speech.”

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.

“You can sprinkle unexpected moments throughout your everyday life that can benefit those around you with very little effort on your part.”