March 7th, is Spread the Word to End the Word day. Today is devoted to ending the use of the derogatory “r-word” associated with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Every time this word is used in a joke or in calling someone stupid it brings down a person with a disability and makes them feel like lesser people. Just because it doesn’t offend you doesn’t mean it doesn’t offend someone around you with a disability or someone who has a loved one or friend with a disability.
Remove this word from your vocabulary and help create an accepting environment for everyone.
by Jesse McAndrews
For about half of the students at High School East, Respect Day started with a motivational speech from a man named Mike Donahue. Donahue was from a company called R5, which sends motivational speakers to schools across the nation.
Donahue’s speech didn’t exactly start as a speech but a mash up of clips a lot like the things you would see on a show like Americas Funniest Home Videos. The clips had the audience laughing and seemed to help get students interested in what he had to say.
Then Donahue’s speech became serious, he spoke of his past and his troubles, including his mother stabbing him. He spoke of bullying and how one thing can affect one person and how people stereotype others.
In high school, students hear a lot of speeches like his, but there was no sound when Donahue spoke. He had everyone’s full attention through his speech and rounds of applause anytime he would jokingly say, “Now clap for me.”
The speech really related to teens. Donahue said adults don’t get it and that students lives are so hard and shared some stories of teens he had met. This really gave a sense of comfort to students. It also tried to get students to try and understand others better.
He didn’t fail to touch students hearts and really get his message out there.
Sophomore Nick Franks said, “I thought he was very dedicated in his line of work. He was kind of funny and had some true things to say.”
Senior Aaron Dritz describer Donahue as, “Very personable, great with the kids, but serious as well.”