A Mother’s Story
By Vickie Mercado
As my son, Danny, walked up to the podium, my heart was pounding. As he began to clear his throat, over and over, I wondered if he could do it. I wanted to get out of my seat to help him, but I realized he had to do it on his own. I also realized that the staff seated on the stage would not let him down, as they had not done for nine years. They would be there for him if needed.
My tears were flowing as Danny began to speak. The gym was silent as everyone strained to hear his very quiet voice. His voice became stronger as he went on and I was astonished at how great a speaker he was.
This was my “little” boy, the one they said would never talk or read. Here he was dazzling the audience with his words and his delivery. When he finished, I was astonished to see that there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. And he was given a standing ovation.
Benton Hall Academy did this for us. If we had listened to the naysayers or had put him in public school where he likely would have been put into resource classes, we would never have seen this. Danny is now attending classes at Columbia State Community College. The transition has been rough, but because of coping skills he learned at Benton Hall Academy, Danny will make it.