Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough may try toavoid clich s like the plague, but his unconventional message in his faculty speech to the Class of 2012 raised numerous eyebrows last Friday. Instead of lauding the achievements of the graduating class apopular tactic among commencement speakers McCullough took theopportunity to remind the Wellesley, Ma. seniors that selflessnessis the best personal quality to possess, and that the sweetestjoys of life come only with the recognition that you re notspecial, because everyone is. The full text comes courtesy of The Swellesley Report . Excerpt below: Here we are on a literal level playing field. |
That matters. Thatsays something. And your ceremonial costume shapeless, uniform,one-size-fits-all. Whether male or female, tall or short, scholaror slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Boxassassin, each of you is dressed, you ll notice, exactly the same.And your diploma but for your name, exactly the same. All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.
You are not special. You are not exceptional. Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowingseventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certaincorpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your battyAunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader hasswooped in to save you you re nothing special. McCullough lamented the tendency of Americans as of late to loveaccolades more than genuine achievement. It s an epidemic and in its way, not even dear old WellesleyHigh is immune one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide,Wellesley High School where good is no longer good enough, wherea B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called AdvancedCollege Placement.
And I hope you caught me when I said one ofthe best. I said one of the best so we can feel better aboutourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, howevervague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite,whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on theperceived competition. But the phrase defies logic. By definitionthere can be only one best. You re it or you re not.
McCullough urged the Class of 2012 not to just do things for thesake of personal accomplishment or self-indulgence, but because you love it and believe in its importance. This isn t the first time McCullough s commencement remarks havemade news. In 2006, he was remembered for telling then-graduating Wellesley students to carpe the heck outof every diem a signature line he alluded to in his 2012 address. Contrarily, a student high school graduation speech -- a rap,rather -- was well received among peers and family when Samuel"Blowfish" Blyveis of St. Joseph High School elected rap tips on the best way to get through high school.
A Reddit user even posted a link to the video with the caption:"Was your graduation speech this epic? Nope? Didn't think so." Also on HuffPost:.
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