Thursday, May 13, 2010

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

My heart was in my throat Tuesday night as I watched my daughter give a farewell address to her Senior class at their Senior night. Beautiful testimony from a beautiful girl. I love you, Shelbi. You were so brave!

Walking out with her roses for the Rose Ceremony. She gave one to her best friend/cousin, one to me, one to her daddy, and one to her MawMaw. :)

Some sweet girls she's been in school with since Kindergarten/Pre-K. This part was where they shared students' memories of their school years.

Shelbi's English IV teacher, Mrs. West, introduced her with, "Remember when Shelbi spoke over the intercom for the first time?" (I blogged about that HERE.)
I don't know how she did it, but her voice was strong and clear. So was her heartfelt message.

One of her dearest friends, sweet Ebony

Shelbi and my niece, Hayley

More dear, and lovely friends: April and Dara

Here is her speech:

Dear the class of 2010,

My class of 2010, I realize now that in August 1997 most every one of you became a huge part of my life. You were the people that I was going to be spending eight hours a day for five days a week with for the next 13 years. You guys were going to be the people that really knew me. If only in August of 1997 we would have known I would not talk to most of you. For all of you who do not know, it is called selective mutism and considered to be an anxiety disorder. It never had anything to do with being anything against you. In all reality, you were the class that made it easy for me. You were the ones to accept me the way I was. Over the years it has been hard to deal with the pressures from people wanting me to talk but one important detail is that I cannot remember any specific moment where anyone in our class extremely pressured me. Even when a substitute called role and almost marked me absent, almost every one of you would suddenly say “she’s here.” It was appreciated by me more than you could ever realize.

Now in the year of 2010 I am proud to say that I grew up with this class, I learned from this class, and spent my time with this class. April 30, 2009 was an excellent day for me, maybe even for you too. Many of you thought that the day would never come; I never even thought the day would come, I only dreamed of it. Little did we know, it came and was absolutely one of the greatest days of my entire life. I am so proud of you guys for being so good to me over all the years; you may not realize it but you did make an impact. Saying farewell to you guys will not be the hardest thing to do but it will not be the easiest either. It will be hard for the fact that I probably will not see over half of you ever again after spending so much of my time with you. It is also hard to leave because I know that I’ll be leaving high school without actually bonding with my senior class. In all reality, I’m leaving here without everyone knowing who I really am and me knowing who everyone else really is; it does not settle well with me. I always wanted my senior year to be the best and filled with too many memories to remember all of them; it did not turn out that way for me though. I know that the reason for that is mainly because of the fact that I did not talk for the first 12 years we were together so most everyone is used to not having me in such a big part of their lives. Leaving high school may be good for most all of us though. It is time for a fresh start. We have been living in our comfort zones and with the people that make us most comfortable for a long time now so it is time to start over. I am one person to know that getting out of your comfort zone will not kill you. It honestly made me a much stronger person.

This is to all the friends I’m leaving behind, or becoming distant from, who shaped me along the way. I would never be the person I am today without each and every one of you coming into my life even if it was only for a season. There is always going to be a reason you came into my life at that exact moment you all did. You affected me greatly so I love every single one of you for that. Some of you made me stronger; others showed me what my breaking points were. Whatever kind of friend you were, you were never bad for me; I thank you for being you. I just want you to know that I love you; I miss you, right now and forever will. It does not matter where or how far life takes me from you, you will always be a part of my heart and never forgotten. So here I say to you, and my class of 2010, you all have grown in my heart. I would never want there to be any other people in my life. All of us may not truly know each other but when we hear each other’s names we will all remember something. I love you all, I’ll miss you all, and I congratulate you all for making it this far in life.

Love always,

A 2010 graduate,


It completely and utterly overwhelms me when I realize how God truly answers our prayers "above and beyond all we could ever hope or imagination." I always knew God would deliver Shelbi from the bonds of Selective Mutism, but never in my wildest dreams thought a year later she would be a public speaker. GOD IS SO GOOD!!! My heart is overflowing and I will forever give Him the praise for this.


  1. Awww I know you were so proud! Great speech! Maybe Josh should borrow it? ;)

    God is so good :)

  2. Beautiful speech, beautiful girl. Congratulations!

  3. A very nice story, hopefully our daughter can give a similar speech in the future. Right now (grade 2), she is being bullied by two classmates and the school refuses to do anything about it because they don't see it happen. One child even told the Teacher that she was kicked by these classmates, but he was told to mind his business and stop being a Tattletale.

    It was very refreshing to read your story, thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you, Linda and Casey. I am very proud of her.
    Kristine, you didn't say, but has your daughter been diagnosed with SM? Please email me and let me know. I'd like to be able to encourage you. My email is :)

  5. Awww.! I was crying *SOB* reading this post and looking at all the gorgeous photos you took of Shelbi a few posts down. My girls are just toddlers... I can't imagine letting them grow up yet. Thanks for sharing. Great photography!

  6. Thanks, Kathy, been missing you commenting. :)