A nonverbal special needs student delivered an inspiring graduation speech using voice software.
According to KARE 11, this weekend, 21-year-old Ahmed Ali graduated from the Transition Plus Program of Minneapolis Public Schools, which provides unique services to students who may need additional time preparing for adult life after high school.
The program offers students with special needs continued training for employment and independent living, and Ali — whom his fellow students nicknamed “Smiles” — was chosen to give the commencement speech, even though he is nonverbal.
Still, Ali was able to deliver his speech — all while showing his beaming smile — thanks to a voice synthesizer.
“First of all, I am very impressed with everything you have done and I am really proud of all of you,” Ali says at the start of his speech. “I can’t wait to see what happens when you get older. You will achieve a lot of amazing things with or without disabilities.”
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a voice I can use. It impacted me to make a difference in my life and the lives of people looking up to me,” he added.
It was the first time a voice synthesizer had been used in a graduation speech in the school district, according to the news station.
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During his time at the podium, Ali struck an inspirational tone to motivate his classmates to use what they’ve learned to continue their growth long past graduation.
“Life is basically a marathon, as human beings, we are running a relay race. Your life is a relay race,” said Ali. “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.”
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“Each stage of your life you are passing it to a new you,” he continued. “It’s not the end of the line for you, but it’s a new you in our beautiful world.”
Ali then capped off his speech by dropping a jumbo-sized microphone, just like then President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents dinner in 2016.