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My Days Are Full
by Michael Taboada
Speech given at the 2002 NOPBC Annual Meeting
Editor’s Note: One or more blind youth are always invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), which is held in conjunction with the NFB convention. At the 2002 meeting Michael Taboada was our featured youth speaker. Michael is the son of Dr. Joseph Taboada and NOPBC treasurer, Sandy Taboada (or Dr. Merchant, as she is known on the job at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.) Michael’s smooth delivery from his Braille notes was as much of an inspiration as the content of his speech. Here’s what he said:
Hi. My name is Michael Taboada and I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I live there with my mother, father, little brother Robert, three cats, and lots of fish. I go to school at Villa del Rey Elementary and I am going into the fourth grade. I like going to school. My favorite subjects are technology and math. I’m learning about the Braille Millennium. Sometimes when my teacher and classmates have trouble with their Braille Millennium, I can figure out what is wrong. This is how I fill some of my day.
I have many activities when I get home in the afternoon. I take Tae Kwon Do. I have been taking classes for two and one-half years. I am a first-degree-decided black belt. I have learned many forms and know how to spar. They also teach us some self-defense moves. I also take piano lessons. My teacher’s name is Miss Melody. I have performed in several recitals. I learn music by memorizing what I hear and by reading Braille music.
Another activity I have is Cub Scouts. I am a first year Webelos. That means ‘We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.’ Our last activity was a hike to Clark’s Creek. We hiked really tall hills and saw many waterfalls. I played in the water. I felt wolf and deer tracks. We ate lunch at one of the waterfalls. We also had a space derby last year where we built our own rocket to race. I didn’t win the race but won best looking rocket. We go camping every fall and spring with our pack.
This summer, I took swimming lessons. I was in the minnow’s class. I learned the backstroke and how to dive. I practiced free style. We joined the YMCA so besides lessons, we go there to swim for fun. I am going to take a kid fitness class where you learn how to use all of the fitness machines. The rest of the time in the afternoon is spent riding my bike, playing with the neighborhood kids, doing my homework, practicing the piano, and listening to tapes. Sometimes on the weekend my best friend Michelle comes over to play. She is also in my class at Villa del Rey.
So as you can see, my day is pretty full from morning to night.
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