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The Legacy
Gaochy Leads With Leadership Speech for April 15th


April 15th is a taxing day (tax deadline), however you will find this one minute speech delivered by Gaochy at the National Honor Society Induction on April 10th to be anything other than taxing.

I’ll try to be as entertaining as I can be, but someone once said, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” However, I’m not much of a speech giver to begin with, but I promise I’ll be a better speech giver than Mr. Owen, so be thankful I’m speaking instead. However, maybe you won’t be at the end because honestly, I’m not a good speech writer. To make matters harder, I’m writing a speech about Leadership.

I’ve met many good leaders in my life. I’ve been changed by most of them and been honored to have known them. Think of leaders though, not just as the people who you know the most or the one who everyone talks about. A leader can be anyone. One of the best leaders I had the pleasure to have met was someone I’ve only had several conversations with. Her name was Tamar Kaplan. When I found out about her death a few months ago, I was devastated. I’ve been a debater for the past four years of my life and I’ve never met someone like her. Being a debater means I’ve been judged more times than one would like (Literally, because every debate round has a judge to decide who wins in the end). To all of these judges though, I’ve probably only been a number or a Patrick Henry debater, nothing more. They didn’t have to know my name at the end of the round. They were only there to help me become better debaters. What made Tamar stand out so well from all those judges was that she called me out by name. She told me that I had great potential and I had given one of the best speeches she’s heard. At that time, I only thought she was a college debater. However, I learned later from my coach that Tamar was actually a state champion debater. During her high school days, she won the MN State Tournament for Highland Park. Tamar never boasted about her skills and she never looked down on others. Instead she met everyone in life as an equal and laughed when others called her a leader or a role model to look up to. That is the type of leader I believe we should all be.

Now, I’m sure that we have all heard many speeches about leadership. We’ve probably been told by our families, friends, and the media, that being a leader is the most important feat in the world, but it’s also the hardest. Mostly because we don’t even realize that we’re leaders. We are the blind trying to lead the blind. There is no one in here or out there that sees better. There may be those who have experienced being blind longer than most of us, but neither the less, even the old can learn from the young. Respect your elders, but respect the youth also. Remember that when you are older because a leader who cannot respect others, is not a true leader at all. Being a good leader means understanding humility.

What does being a leader mean though? What does it mean to be looked up to or to make the decisions that no one wants to make? The question is not just, what does it mean to be a leader, but what makes a good leader. Is it the person who does not want to lead or is it the person is prepared to lead? Or is it the person who makes the decision when the going gets tough? Is it the person who chooses not to do anything? Should we be a leader or a follower? We hear all the time that we should be leaders instead of followers.

However, this is wrong. We are told that we should always strive to lead. That there are leaders and then there are followers. But there is no such thing as just, leaders and followers. There is a leader within all of us. We’re all leaders. Rather we are in NHS, or just walking down the street or hanging out with our friends, we are leaders in some way or some form. A leader can follow another leader because a true leader is humble. Being in NHS means you’ve been recognized as a leader by your teachers and the school, but that doesn’t that those who aren’t in NHS, are not leaders. I know the speech is about being in NHS and being a role model for the rest of the student body, but the message I want to give everyone, is that we are leaders with or without NHS.  That we are leaders even beyond NHS. Thank you.