The unique untold stories that every Greenwood student brings to the stage at our annual Gettysburg Address event, is what keeps this 40-year tradition alive, exciting, and not to be missed. This year was no different.
The Greenwood School in Vermont is known for awakening talents in 6-12 grade students with complex learning profiles. Many come to Greenwood, skeptical that they will be able to fulfill the requirement to recite The Gettysburg Address from memory in front of a large audience. Some conquer the fear of public speaking in their first year at The Greenwood School, while others need more time.
At every annual February recital, families and teachers sit in silent anticipation, knowing the unique stories of struggle behind each brave student preparing to orate President Abraham Lincoln’s famous words of 1863. One young Greenwood Student may be challenged with memorization, while another may have lost confidence struggling in a previous school that deemed them lazy or rebellious, versus dyslexic. Parents shed tears of joy and amazement watching their kids find success on stage. This year one father said, “I never knew they had it in them.” His student earned an award for orating excellence in their year at Greenwood.
Returning students who have recited the Gettysburg Address in a prior year, have the option of delivering an alternative speech or poem of their choosing. Their topics never disappoint, always leaving the audience wondering why. Why did one participent share the words of sportscaster Stuart Scott, about kicking cancer? What was it about Brigadier General Joshua Chamberlain’s speech that touched another student? Why harken back to Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s speech, Founder of the Special Olympics?
Although everyone in the audience may not understand the implications of each student’s accomplishment or alternate speech, the Greenwood faculty and staff are all dialed in; demonstratively moved from a place of knowing the unique and inspiring story behind each and every student stepping on and off the stage. It’s an evening brimming with “Greenwood Magic.”