Can't Talk

by Sarah K., Age 11 , Grade 6, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, Louisville, KENTUCKY USA
Teacher: Sarah Reinhart

Can’t Talk

Sarah Kwasny                                                                                                September 19, 2016


“Ok, and next up is Skyler!” My teacher says. Today I have to do my Social Studies presentation about the Civil War. I slowly take my time getting to the front of the room. It’s the end of the day, so hopefully class will end before I even start my presentation. “Go ahead Skyler!” My teacher exclaims. I start: “Hie, mi nad id Skileer. De shizil rar flakesh pras en de 1700’s (Hi, my name is Skyler. The Civil War takes place in the 1700’s).” “Bbbbrrrriiinnnggg” the bell rings. Finally I can go home!

Hi, my name is Skyler Dawson, I am 12 years old and I have a big problem. I can’t talk. I know what I want to say but somehow it just doesn’t come out right. I say it in my head, goat but what comes out is garth or sometimes gullt. Nobody understands what I’m trying to say and then I lose my calm, I try so many different ways and get so frustrated that it makes my head start spinning and pretty soon I go unconscious. It’s not always this way, but it gets pretty bad whenever it does happen. My mom makes me take a mini whiteboard with me where-ever I go, so that when someone asks me a question then I can wright the answer down. I hate having to use it though because it makes me look like a freak.

 Tomorrow is Halloween and I’m not very excited about the whole Trick-or-Treating thing. My mom says that I have an issue with my vocal cords and they were just damaged when I was born. It’s kind of like my own secret code. I’m a superhero for Halloween this year and I still haven’t found any friends to go with me yet. I’m hoping I can find someone so that they can be the one who says trick-or-treat, and I can just mouth the words. That is how it was last year and everything went perfectly. My very best friend Jess is out of town so she can’t go with me, and my older sister Whitney is going to a party with her friend Izzy because she thinks that she’s too old for trick-or–treating.

 Anyways. Science fair is next week and the science teacher is really excited to hear my presentation, and I’m pretty sure that he’s even more excited than I am which makes total sense because I have been petrified about this day ever since he even mentioned science fair to us at the beginning of the school year. You see, our school is big on science fair and they invite like 50 judges to the event, and you stand up on the stage and present your project with hundreds of people staring at you. I’m doing a project with atoms and molecules and all that which is the most complex thing that anyone my age could ever do. The science teacher says that I am the most brilliant student that he has ever worked with, and I believe it, I really do, I’m just not so good with words.

                It’s the day of Halloween, and still, no one has offered to go trick-or-treating with me yet. I think that I’ll just hand out the candy for now. Anyways, I have been practicing my speech for science fair and here are the many ways that I have been saying it:


  1. Hi, mi name s Skiiiler Dalson,
  2. Hi, me nan se Skyleer Dawslon
  3. Hi, my nad es Skyler Doofson

I have the Hi down, but the other words have turned out as epic fails. “Skyler, honey” My mom shouts from the bottom of the stairs, “It’s time to get dressed in your costume”. “klay, mim” I yell back. I rush upstairs and get changed. I talk to my mom about the whole trick-or-treating situation. She understands. Trick-or-treaters start arriving and like anyone, I hand out the candy. It was soooo boring I almost changed my mind! Then the doorbell rings again, I go answer it. “Trick-or-treat!” a little kid dressed as Batman hollers. I give him the candy. “I’m a super-hero too.” He says, “What super-hero are you?” I freak out! I don’t know what to say or what to do! This whole idea was a total disaster! I started breathing heavily trying to come up with an answer. The whole block is staring at me! What do I do? I started getting dizzy!

I wake up with a horrible headache in what seems to be the hospital, but I’m not entirely sure. My mom is seated right next to me. This happens often so I’m pretty sure It’s not anything serious this time. “He ling ave I ben en her?” I asked her. “About three and a half days!” she replies. Three and a half days!? This is crazy, science fair is tomorrow! “The doctor says that you should be good to go in 30-40 minutes.” My dad says as he walks into the room. I was really hoping that they would keep me over night so that I wouldn’t have to go to school tomorrow. I keep reciting my presentation in my head. It sounds right, but I know that the minute that I say it out loud, it will sound like a whole-new language. The doctor walks into the room. “She’s good to go.” He says. We get in the car and drive home.

  I practice saying my speech over and over again. I only got 3 words out of like 50 right. My Language Arts teacher gave me a tip that I completely forgot about. She says to sound out all the letters one by one as slowly as possible.

Hhhh………iiiiiiiii………………………mmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyy……………. nnnnnnnnnaaaaaaa………….mmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeee……………iiiiiiiiiiii…………….sssssssss……………………………………..Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssskkkkkkkkkkkkk……………yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr………………………..Dddddddddddddddaaaaaaaaaaa………………….wwwwwwwww……………………ssssssssssssssooooooooonnnnnnnnnnn.

I said all of the words right! If I were just to speed it up a little bit, then I’ll have it done perfectly! I guess that it’s really not that complex at all.

“And next up is Skyler Dawson.” The announcer exclaims. I get up on to the stage, all of the sudden my stomach turns inside out. I walk up on stage. “You may begin.” The judge says. I start:

Hi,    my     name    is       Skyler      Dawson.         My       Science       Fur         project       is          called            the science      of          molecules      and       adoms.

Let’s just say that I didn’t get anything wrong after that. I moved on to regionals, then state, and before I knew it, I was on the plane to nationals! My dreams had finally come true! Even though I didn’t win nationals, I was really proud of myself for even getting there. My parents are super proud of me too, and even better, I’m like super popular at school. This day could not get any better! Yet it did. Manual, Sacred Heart, Atherton, and Assumption want me to go to they’re school already. For the next few days I had letters coming from all different High schools coming in the mail that were just for me!!! I still don’t know which one I’ll pick, but overall, this has been a great experience.

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