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This is a speech written for a 6th grade commencement -- by a 12 year old who wishes to remain anonymous. He or she has given me permission to post it here, and it is unabridged.

When we were given this assignment, we were asked to explain our greatest challenge that we have faced and overcome. But this is hard, because we live in just about the luckiest area that you can live in. We all take it for granted, but we actually have things, like food homes and education, that literally billions of people don’t have. So instead of focusing in and trying to find the challenges that we have faced, we should take a step back and realize how lucky we are.

    Take for example, kids who have to work because their families are poor enough that they can’t pay bills. Now they face challenges. In my old school, they opened our eyes to topics like this as soon as we were old enough to understand. I learned to really be aware of how lucky I was. Remembering that really helped me stay aware.

    Once, my literacy teacher in fifth grade had us all stand up and slowly made us sit down based on different groups of people that were discriminated against. We started with 30, and ended with two standing. I remember this particular class because at the time, I hadn’t realized how many people were, and still are, discriminated against. And now you are asking me what MY greatest challenge was?  

    My advice that I would give to younger students is that instead of keeping your head down, and worrying all of the time, you should really take a step back, and be grateful for how lucky you are. Because I sure am.

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