Working as a Cleveland personal injury lawyer for 33 years, Tim has learned a thing or two about advocating for people who have had to overcome obstacles in their lives. So, when Patrice Garuckas, a teacher at Ss. Robert and William Catholic School, asked him to judge an eighth grade speech competition covering the topic of “A Person Who Has Overcome,” he felt more than prepared.
However, what he didn’t expect was how prepared the group of 13-year-old students would be.
“Today I want to compliment you for not only standing up, but for your delivery. I’m blown away by each and every one of you,” Tim said as he addressed participants, parents, teachers, and students.
Along with the help of fellow judges Richard Osborne, Tim’s good friend and president of Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, and Jim Collins from the Willoughby News-Herald, Tim listened and critiqued 12 student speeches covering a wide range of inspiring stories about people who have overcome, including Jackie Robinson, Temple Grandin, and even more personal stories about students’ neighbors and relatives.
“It was so difficult, and as my friends will tell you, it was almost impossible to select a winner,” Tim insisted before he announced Maria Wojtila’s third place win.
One common theme of every speech was the idea that you should never take anything for granted. The students proudly told stories about the accomplishments of others, the whole time failing to acknowledge their own personal accomplishments taking place in that very room.