Troy Daniels' Speech: Inclusion
is Not a Place, It is a Feeling
by Troy Daniels, Senior, Class
For more articles like this
by Kim and Troy Daniels
On June 15th 2002 my son Troy Daniels graduated from Northfield
High School. We have traveled a long and difficult road to get
there but he has worked harder than anyone else, endured more
than any of us, taught more than anyone, and had more fun doing
it than I did that is for sure!!!
Each member of his graduating class was required to write a
senior speech. Troy worked for 2 months on his. He used his
computer, with software, which allowed him to scan for words and
also used pictures to find words he may want to use. It was the
hardest thing I have ever had to watch, he knew what he wanted
to say and he would not stop until he had captured the exact
words. After writing his speech he than spent hours typing it
into the device he uses to speak (Libby) because people cannot
understand his voice.
He than had to stand before his class and deliver the speech.
When it was over, I am told ( parents were not allowed to
attend) that there was silence in the room. Troy's lip started
to tremble. He was sure that all of his classmates thought what
he had said was dumb. He was wrong, his classmates were
themselves moved to tears boys and girl alike. When the applause
finally started it was like thunder and it went on and on.
This is why in Northfield Vermont, one of speakers at graduation
for the class of 2002 was a young man who had Down's syndrome,
who uses a wheel chair and does not use his voice to
communicate. That boy is my son, Troy Daniels. He has asked that
I share this story and his speech with others who work toward a
day when all people will be part of one community.
We hope that you enjoy the speech and that in some small way it
will help you to keep doing the work you are doing.
Troy and Kim Daniels
Daniels' Senior Speech, Monday, May 13, 2002
Inclusion is Not a Place, It is a Feeling
My name is Troy Daniels, but my friends call my TD. I have
Down's syndrome. Because my heart is bad I use a wheel chair, I
do not speak very good and sometimes I use Libby.
I am a person with disabilities and when I say "my friends" I
mean friends, real friends just like everyone else, I have
friends. Most of you think all people have friends but for
people with disabilities friends are not always real. I want you
to know why I have friends.
Not to long ago people with disabilities could not go to school
with other kids, they had to go to "special schools". They could
not have real friends; they call people like me "retard". That
breaks my heart.
When I came to school there is law that says all kids go to
school in the place they live. I started school right here in
Northfield with all of senior class, we were little kids
together. The law says that I can come to school but no law can
make me have friends.
But than some kids started to think that I was ok, first it was
just one or two kids who were nice to me. They found out that I
cared about them and I loved my school. I told them I want to
have real friends. Others started to hang out with me and they
found out we could be friends. We started to learn together that
in some ways we were different but in some ways we were the
same. They called me friend and made sure that I was in
everything at school. I cared about them and they cared about
I want all people to know and to see that these students I call
my friends, are the real teachers of life. They are showing you
how it should be. They are the teachers for all of you to follow
Yes, I am person with disability. The law says that I am
included but it is my friends who say…"TD come sit by me".