There are many reasons so many of us stayed silent. In my own case, it was fear of losing my career and all I had worked for. In the case of this young man, it was his stammer, for which he was bullied into silence for years. He remained without a voice until an amazing teacher and coach came into his life.
In his story and in his spirit I saw so much resilience and determination that I was myself “speechless” by the end, as if something had caught in my own throat. I believe in fact that it was joy. Watch and experience it for yourselves.
Mr. Burton: Nice and loud, nice and proud.
Mr. Burton: It's only because I watched "The King's Speech" quite recently. All right?
Mr. Burton: One of the thing he does right because it's a very similar thing to you, in that you just can't get the words out. One thing he does right, is they make him listen to some music right, and when he is listening to music, gets him to do it again.
Mr. Burton: See, have you got your phone with you?
Mr. Burton: Plug it into mine, I'll put some opera music on. Right. You ready?
Student: Yes, sir
Mr. Burton: Go for it. One, two, three.
Student: The moment when after many years of hard work and a long [stammer] a long [stammer] . . .
Mr. Burton: Is it too loud? Loud?
Student: I own this... is the same moment when the trees unloose the soft arm from around you, the birds take back their language, The Cliffs . . .
Mr. Burton: Frazier.
Student: The Cliffs of Frazier ... collapse, the air moves back from you like a wave and you can't breathe . . .
Mr Burton: What? Pause, pause, pause, pause.
Student: . . . nor the . . .
Mr. Burton: Carry on, carry on
Student: nor the whisper your own ... You were a visitor time after time climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming we never belong to you. You never found us it was always the other way around.
Mr. Burton: That's insane!
Student: Yes, sir.
Mr. Burton: Does that feel good?
Mr. Burton: Do you feel confident?
Mr. Burton: Can I go get Ms. Lee?
Mr. Burton: Stay there. Good, lad. Can I borrow you, Ms. Lee, for a second. Right? Our poetic extraordinaire. Right? You ready.
Student: Oh, yeah. When the trees are unloose the soft arm from around you, the birds take back their language, The Cliffs of Frazier and collapse, the air moves back from you, like a wave and you can't breathe. You never found us it was always the other way around.
Mr. Burton: What an unbelievable thing that is.
Ms. Lee: I ... for the first time
Mr. Burton: I genuinely didn't think it would work, but amazingly it did.
Speaker: Is there one of you sitting here that actually didn't hear ... seven because unfortunately some people ... and he wanted to leave and in year seven, he had an attendance of about 34% because he didn't have a voice then and he's got one now. So ... this has taken a lot, but we wanted to show just what we've and you've done for him.
Student: Come on, I want to thank you today for the time to speak in front of all of you. I want to especially thank Mr. Burton for helping me overcome my stammer. The school has helped me improve so much that I do not have enough words to tell you all how I really am going to miss the school; the teachers, the students, and just the whole high school environment. It's good I don't have a dream to work at a call center or else I would be fired the same day.
I really want to thank you all for listening and I hope the best for all of you, to all my fellow students and teachers.
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Starring Lea Salonga, George Takei, and Telly Leung in a groundbreaking, original musical about a family's love, loss, and heroism during the Japanese American Internment.