Parker Mantell is proof that anyone can write his or her own success story.
Despite having a speech disorder, the Indiana University student delivered a rousing graduation speech in front of a crowd of 17,000 about overcoming hardships by daring to believe in yourself.
“As a person who stutters, I can be no more certain that, in this room and in this hall, are thousands of people who far more talented at public speaking than I am,” he begins. “At the same time, however, I can be no more certain that the message I have to share is one that must be heard.”
In his address, the 21-year-old political science major gave examples of history’s greats who overcame major obstacles in their journey to success.
“Beethoven was deaf; imagine if he had never dared to listen to his calling to compose music. Ray Charles was blind; imagine if he had never dared to envision that he could touch the keys of a piano. Albert Einstein was dyslexic; imagine if he had never dared to embrace seeing things differently by formulating equations. FDR couldn’t walk; imagine if he had never dared to run. Imagine what you are depriving our world of if you never dare to achieve your purpose.”
Mantell also thanked his university for encouraging “someone who is barely able to talk for himself [to] dream big enough to talk for public servants.” The graduate shared that during various internships, he answered phones for the United States House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, gave tours of the U.S. Capitol for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and worked in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office.
Since his May 10 speech, the grad told Fox News that he’s been receiving plenty of attention about the positive impact he’s had — especially from mothers and fathers of children with disabilities.
Mantell also stated that he would like to pursue a career in public service, whether it be in politics or law.
You can read his whole speech here or watch the video below.