Thank You HBE & Port Jervis Middle School!

Last week I spoke to the third and fifth grade classes at Hamilton Bicentennial ELementary school in Cuddebackville New York. They were holding their annual leadership day where different people come in and speak to the class. This year’s theme was overcoming obstacles. The classes I spoke to had read and watched Wonder by R J Palacio so I told the classes my own Wonder story. The kids were so warm and welcoming. I spoke briefly about myself, telling them I was born with a severe facial deformity similar to the protagonist in WONDER. I gave a brief summary of myself and then left it to the kids and asked what they wanted to know.

“How has being born like that changed your outlook?”

I would never expect a kid that age to have such a great question and articulate it so well. I told him that I was grateful for the outlook it gave me because I was able to see the absolute best and the absolute worst of people but could read people very well.

Then Today I went to Port Jervis Middle School and spoke to the seventh grade. They had seen WONDER at the beginning of the year and Mrs O’Connell had shown them my videos at so they were happy to see me. I did the same thing as I did with the elementary and told them a little about myself. These kids were a little older and a little more reserved but once I made a few funny stories they opened up. One person asked me if I could drive and I told her no and how when I was turning sixteen my mother let me try and I mistook the gas for the break. “I’M HITTING THE BREAK1” I yelled pretending to slam down on the gas. The room loved it.

I want to thank PJMS and HBE for welcoming me and I can’t wait to return next year.

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