You may have already started thinking about what you would like to say to the students at your high school as soon as you heard about The Homecoming Project. Your head may be flooded with questions: “What do these kids need to hear?” “What’s the first thing I should say?” “What happens if they don’t have any questions?” If you’re like most speakers, you’re probably both nervous and excited as you think about giving a short speech for a group of teenagers.
Don’t worry… the basics of crafting a Homecoming Project speech are easy. All you have to do is remember.
To begin, take a few minutes and sit down at your computer or grab a pad of paper and start writing your story.
- Were you in the closet during high school? Did you feel afraid that your “secret” would come out? What did you do to make people think you were straight? Tell a story about how you hid your sexuality from your friends and family. What did you wish someone had told you when you were a teenager during that difficult time? The Homecoming Project is your opportunity to say to students what you wish someone had said to you!
- Were you “out” during high school? What was it like for everyone at school to know something so intimate about you? How did your friends and family react (either positively or negatively) when you came out? Tell a story about either a person who gave you confidence or a situation that made you afraid. Now that you’re older and wiser, what perspective can you share through the Homecoming Project that will make high school easier for a new generation of “out” teenagers?
- What has happened since you graduated? How did life change after high school? Did you go to college or plunge into the working world? What’s it like to be “out” as an adult? Tell a story about either the freedoms or struggles of being an out LGBT person in the “real world.” Use your story to show kids both triumphs and struggles. Paint an honest picture of what waits just around the bend.
Click here for a full speaker’s guide, including more tips about building your presentation and facilitating the question/answer time.
As you craft your presentation, remember that the purpose of your Homecoming Project is to share your story. Although there are many issues and topics that you may be passionate about (marriage equality, bullying, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, etc.), the Homecoming Project is not a platform for political or social agendas. Instead, your Homecoming Project presentation should focus on telling your story in a way that helps students find hope and encouragement.
Need some inspiration? Read this quote from a student that attended a recent Homecoming Project:
“I was inspired by the speaker’s story. I feel that his experience could really help someone in a similar situation and it is interesting to hear how he felt while he was going through it. It is sad to know that there are people in the world who are afraid to be themselves, whether it be because of their sexuality or something else. However, with people like him working and fighting for gay rights, we could someday live in a world where no one is ashamed of who they are.”
View a sample Homecoming Project presentation.
Now that it’s almost time for your Homecoming Project, consider these important “Day of Your Presentation” tips.
Do you need help with this stage of your Homecoming Project?
Call us at (212) 651-4231 or email Tom Hernandez