You are not special

This video blows my mind.


The commencement speaker is Wellesley High School’s English teacher David McCullough Jr.

There are so many things I would like to say, but I will let you watch for yourself, I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

By the end (around the nine minute mark,) Mr. McCullough becomes a little motivating, although, it still doesn’t make up for the fact that he is telling a bunch of graduating seniors that they are not special. I have no idea why this is funny and why SO many people think it’s appropriate. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure I would have been pissed if he was our high school graduation’s commencement speaker.

Here is the text form of the speech and below it are numerous comments encouraging such outrageous behavior from a faculty member. According to CNN, there haven’t been any complaints from the parents of the graduating seniors. Am I crazy, or am I the only one who would complain to the school board about this?

Sure, kick your students into gear before they graduate and let them know that they need to strive to be extraordinary. Tell them in class, in the hallway, in a newsletter, but not during a commencement speech, not during one of the most important days of their lives. Because back when I was graduating high school, I felt pretty special, and who is he to take that away from anyone?

If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness, don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes; because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again. – Gilmore girls


3 thoughts on “You are not special

  1. Courtney O. says:

    I would see the humor/value in a speech like this if it had been at an assembly in the beginning of these kids’ high school career or something. But like you said, as a commencement speech it is totally inappropriate. And a lot of people don’t graduate high school, so these kids are already celebrating a big accomplishment. They don’t need a reality check at that moment.

  2. Kathleen Gilligan says:

    I know there were people in my high school graduating class that were the first people in their families to graduate from high school. And that’s a big deal. Graduation itself is a big deal. To say they aren’t special isn’t a reality check, it’s just mean. There’s a nicer way to say that you are going to have to go out into the real world and work hard to make your own way and succeed. To me, this just wasn’t necessary. Like you, I’m surprised so many people applaud this. I’m not saying to handle the graduating class with kid gloves or anything–go ahead and tell them it’s going to be tough out there. But graduating is a big deal and yeah, I’m not feeling this.

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