Autistic Student's Inspiring 2010 Graduation Speech

Sheri Reed

Eric Duquette is a graduating senior from Smithfield High School in Rhode Island, and he also happens to have autism. Duquette was the salutatorian at his recent commencement ceremony and gave such an inspiring graduation speech full of determination and self-confidence to his classmates.

In his speech, Duquette, who didn't speak a word until he was 5 years old, gave a little background on his autism diagnosis.

"I started my academic career with a serious learning disability: autism. My parents were told that my prognosis was poor and that I would probably end up in an institution."

He followed that with some well-placed wit: "Today I stand before you accepted into every institution of higher learning that I applied to. So I guess in a way the experts are right about the institution thing."

Way to go, Eric! You are an inspiration to us all.

What do you think? Inspired?

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