Sef Scott knew he was about to do something unexpected when he addressed the senior class of Plano Senior High at a graduation ceremony on June 9 in Frisco, Texas.
Normally, he doesn't choose to speak, he told a crowd gathered in a sports arena that seats thousands. That's because he is a student with learning differences: autism and a social communication disorder, he said.
But he came prepared to do something unexpected.
He spoke for about six minutes, giving an inspirational, uplifting message: Defy expectations, live the life you want to live and surprise the world with kindness.
A video of the speech was posted to the Plano Independent School District's YouTube page.
He peppered the speech with jokes, at one point musing: “Yes, I have autism, but I am also a smart aleck. Unexpected, right?”
The crowd erupted into applause.
He said he was inspired by his brother — a brain tumor survivor who frequently does speeches to raise money.
Sef said he worked with family to craft his graduation speech word-by-word. He wanted to inspire people in the audience to follow his example: Do the unexpected.
That can be done in the little things, he said: Let people cut in line; donate tickets you don’t need; say “thank you” to the grocery bagger.
Or it can be done in the big things: Charting your own course in life when others have different plans for you.
“Are your next steps where you want to go?" he asked. “Don’t follow someone else’s dreams … do the unexpected.”