Good evening! My name’s Kate Bartel. I’m president of the Newtown Chapter of the National Honor Society this year. I’d like to start off by congratulating our honor society students, both old and new-- let’s give them a round of applause.
Tonight I want to talk about appreciation, because I feel appreciation is something that the honor society brings out in the community with its widespread involvement and active members. What I think is so wonderful about the Newtown chapter’s members is how selfless they are in everything they do. Nothing is expected in return, which is why I feel that often times these students don’t realize how much they truly are appreciated.
As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome about four weeks ago. (Guillain-Barre is a disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks parts of your nervous system, causing paralysis and muscle weakness.) I was paralyzed from the waist down, and am still in the process of regaining the ability to speak. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to give a speech tonight.
In the hospital, I didn’t eat for a week, had constant migraines and horrible pains... but I would do it allover again if I had to, simply because of the lessons I was able to take away from it all. This disease turned my life upside down, yet having to relearn how to walk and talk and brush my teeth made me so much more appreciative of those little things, and made me realize what truly amazing friends and family I have. It changed my perspective on life. And I think that making a change, making a difference, is something that each and every student in this room has the motivation to do, and within the National Honor Society, we have the committees and leaders and determination to turn that motivation into something real, something that you can look back on and be proud of-- whether it be indirectly, holding fundraisers and events to raise money for a village thousands of miles away, or directly-- teaching a group of kids how to play basketball, visiting our seniors over at Ashlar, helping a student at Newtown High School in the tutoring center!
Appreciation. It’s something that’s felt. And I couldn’t be more proud to induct our new members today knowing that they will only further this appreciation of the honor society within our community. Thank you.