Sharon’s 50th Birthday Party

Many of you who know me well have had the opportunity to meet my sister, Sharon.  She recently celebrated her 50th Birthday, and I was given the privilege of making a speech to honor her.  I decided that the best way I could pay tribute to her was to talk about the many life lessons that she has taught me.

My parents put together a fantastic event that was held on March 3, 2019 at Union South.  The facility was a great setting and there was plenty of space for the large crowd.  Throughout her life, Sharon has touched so many people and interacted with so many members of the Madison community.  She has been mainstreamed from an early age and was one of the first children to be integrated into a regular high school, participate in Camp Shalom as a camper, attend Beth Israel Hebrew School as a student and serve as a counselor at Camp Shalom. 

Her positive disposition is infectious and her glowing attitude bring warmth and energy to everyone around her.  As I said in my speech, she has probably taught me more than anyone else in my life.

And as I looked around the room throughout the day, it was apparent that Sharon has taught many of our friends these same lessons. 

Sharon had such a terrific time at the party.  She had a huge smile all day (and the whole week leading up to the party).  You could hear her laughing across the room and see her teasing various people throughout the afternoon.  She welcomed people for so many parts of her life:  Very Special Arts, Job Coaches, YMCA, Shorewood Hills, Beth Israel, Camp Shalom, Memorial High School and many family friends.  The morning after the party, Sharon woke up and told my parents what a great time she had.

I did my best to capture Sharon’s essence in the brief time I had to speak and it was rewarding to have so many people ask for copies of the speech and/or the video.  Sharon is a very special person and has a unique disposition.  The 25 Lessons that I spoke about are really only the tip of the iceberg.  Sharon has taught our whole family so much about kindness, graciousness and perseverance.  There is truly no way to capture all of her remarkable spirit in just a few minutes.

If you would like to read the 25 Life Lessons I Learned from Sharon, please click below and you will get the full text of the speech that I wrote. In the videos, you can also see Sharon’s love, excitement and her infectious smile.  I hope that you will take a few minutes to watch. I think you will learn something yourself.

Text of Roy Kessel Speech, 25 Life Lessons I Learned from Sharon

The best teacher that I have had in my life!!
Roy Kessel’s Speech for Sharon Kessel’s 50th Birthday: 25 Life Lessons Learned from Sharon


  • Merle and Jerry Sternberg presenting portrait to Sharon
  • Les Mirkin Speech, Parts 1 and 2
  • Raymond Kessel Speech
  • Everyone singing Happy Birthday to Sharon
  • Sharon’s speech thanking people and telling everyone to each cake
Merle and Jerry Sternberg present Sharon with a beautiful portrait drawn by Merle
Les Mirkin Speech to Sharon Kessel, Part 1
Les Mirkin Speech to Sharon Kessel, Part 2
Raymond Kessel Speech to Sharon Kessel for her 50th Birthday
Everyone singing Happy Birthday to Sharon

Sharon thanking everyone for coming to her party and telling guests to eat cake!

If you did not get the opportunity to join our family for this special occasion, I hope that you enjoy these photos and that you take the time to watch the videos of the speeches and presentations.

And here are some special videos made by our relatives in Israel:

Colin Kessel family sings Happy Birthday to Sharon



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