So I've been told that I'm going to be taking school assembly on Monday (in front of 1000 fidgety boys), and that there will be inspectors in, so it has to be good.
I've had to come up with my own topic, and, since we haven't really mentioned him in assembly yet, I'm basing mine around Barack Obama. However, assemblies always have to have a sort of moralistic/motivating aspect to them, so I'm tying Obama into overcoming adversity/prejudices, that kind of thing. I want to be as un-political as possible, just concentrating on him defeating obstacles. I would really, really love it if people could read what I have so far and tell me if it sounds too cheesy/poorly written/factually inaccurate:
Almost two weeks ago, history was made when the United States of America elected its first African-American president. Regardless of Barack Obama's political views and positions, this is without question a remarkable achievement and a real step forward for a country where only 50 years ago, black men and women were fighting for an equal position in society. Whether or not you took any interest in the American election, Obama represents the power of perseverance and determination in achieving one's goals. Men and women like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks paved the way for his success, and without their fervent efforts against the odds, Obama would not be where he is today.
Barack Hussein Obama was born in August 1961, and had a chaotic childhood. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and with his mother subsequently marrying an Indonesian man, they moved to Jakarta for eight years. Barack then returned to America to live with his grandparents and, in spite of his fragmented education, he graduated from high school and went on to study Political Science at Columbia and Law at Harvard – an impressive feat by any standards.
He went on to climb the political ladder, becoming State Legislator for Illinois in 1997 and eventually the state's representative on the US Senate in 2005. Many commentators watched the rise of this young, charismatic politician with great interest, but the more conservative among them agreed on one thing: this was as far as he could ever go.
When Obama declared himself as a Democratic candidate for the Presidency of America in February 2007, few believed he would be selected over other, more experienced politicians – however, by June 2008, he had clinched the vote against Hillary Clinton and was officially in the running to become President. Despite his meteoric rise, many still believed that he could go no further. Several African-American journalists covering his campaign agreed, with one commenting:
“When American kids are being raised, their parents always tell them, 'When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be.' When I was a child, my father told me, 'You can be anything you want. But you can never be the President of America.'”
The Obama campaign went from strength to strength, and on Tuesday 4th November, America took to the polls. And, as we now know, in spite of his detractors, in spite of the prejudice against him, in spite of all the obstacles that should have held him back, Barack Obama won the race with approximately 52% of the vote and became President-Elect of the United States.
What can we take from Obama's story? That failure is never inevitable. That despite what anyone says, try hard enough and we can do whatever we want.
Courtney Lewis, guest speaker at this year's Senior Prizegiving always wanted to make a career out of music, but was told that he would be far better served turning his efforts towards a more traditional career. He is now a successful conductor with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. To paraphrase part of his speech:
“If anyone ever tells you that you'll never succeed, that there's no point in trying, that you will never get to where you want to be: don't believe them.”
With a positive attitude, perseverance and strength of mind, success is that much closer.
Throughout his campaign, Barack Obama used a simple and powerful maxim to focus his drive and determination, a phrase which sums up the attitude we need to achieve our goals: “Yes we can”. If we ever find ourselves in a situation where the odds seem stacked against us, and we don't know if we can do it: yes we can. Whether it's ten points behind on the rugby pitch by half-time, or panicking before an exam - whatever the circumstances: yes we can.
Any criticism is welcome!
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Some opinions on assembly speech watch
- Thread Starter
- 15-11-2008 22:30
- 16-11-2008 02:37
Well written, it would be good if you had to submit it as an essay... But if its being read out/recited, then I foresee that it would become rather monotonous after a little while. Perhaps, you could water it down? And also make a bit more entertaining for the audience...