Have you ever been bullied? Stinky remembered a time where the neighbouring animals would tease and curse and laugh at him. He remembered how they used to constantly remind him that he was good for nothing and that he should stick with something more suited for him – rolling around in the mud and eating. Oh how those words would hurt him. Each time he would sit and ask why the world was so unkind and why it had to be him. There was pain, hurt and there were many tears shed.
The older animals in the barn would console him and tell him that words could only hurt him if he let it fester within his mind. The more he reacted to the ridicule, the more emotional he would become.
So Stinky chose to remain positive and not let the empty words of others deter him from chasing his dreams. That was a choice he was truly glad to make.
Ugg had told him that it took strength to stand up to bullies. She also reminded him that bullies are sometimes weak and empty, choosing only to hurt people because that is the only form of attention they receive. Stinky pitied them instead, hoping that one day they would enjoy their own share of warmth, love and happiness. Then, they might realise that their actions hurt others and make a change for the better. He silently wished them well.
So after having left his home for what felt like an eternity, he stood on the podium feeling slightly nostalgic. He missed the simplicity of the barn, his friends and the farm. Stinky had graduated at the top of his class, and in doing so was elected to give the graduation speech to all of his teachers and peers. This was the first time Stinky had ever had to speak to a large crowd, so the preparation had been a very daunting task.
Nevertheless the show had to go on. So as he stood, with the wind in his tail, he began his speech to the group of hopefuls. Throughout his speech the crowd reacted enthusiastically to his words. They laughed at his jokes and cheered whenever he mentioned the name of the University. As his speech was nearing its end, Stinky felt exuberance and strength. He wanted to end his speech with something that was meaningful to him – so he echoed these feelings in his last words to all the onlookers.
‘Dare to dream! Never let anyone tell you that your dreams will never come true. If I had listened to these words, I would not be standing here right now. If you stumble or fall, just think that you are a little bit closer to realising what you have always dreamt about. Don’t be discouraged by failure, because it is an essential ingredient for success. You all have it in you! So with these words, I wish you well. I wish you success in all its aspects. Keep smiling and keep chasing that dream of yours. Good luck class of 2012. It has been a pleasure!’
The crowd sat in silence, the wind eerily loud. Just as Stinky began to think his speech was lacklustre in delivery, a single clap was heard from the middle of the crowd. From this single clap, there were two then three then the whole crowd erupted into a huge roar. They stomped their feet and whistled. Stinky was overwhelmed by their reception that he succumbed to tears of joy.
So at that moment Stinky led the charge and threw his ceremonial cap into the air. The other graduates followed, the skies raining hundreds of black caps. It was a beautiful sight to see. And with that, his graduation ceremony ended. He looked out to the crowd, with tear-filled eyes, and realised that this was one of the happiest moments of his life.
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