A Different Graduation Speech

Erica Goldson gave a very different speech at Coxsackie-Athens High School Coxsackie, New York. The class valedictorian gave the commencement address many students over the years claimed they would make if they ever got the chance. She began by stating that her goal in school was to get out as soon as she could.
I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer - not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition - a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave.  I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

You can read the entire speech and some reactions at Swift Kick Central. Link -via Holy Kaw!

(Image credit: Flickr user Clever Cupcakes)

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Lulu, I agree with you 100%. The young lady in question is missing the point of the lesson. It's not that she became the best "slave", but rather that she cultivated mental discipline; what my father called "stick-to-it-ive-ness"... something she'll appreciate in years to come.
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No one expects you to leave high school as an enlightened 18 y.o. - teenagers are way too immature to really understand the importance of learning. That comes later on, when you are older, unfortunately.

Her take on public school is a sham. You get back what you invest in your schooling and then some. Teachers cannot force you to be interested in every subject. They are happy if you show interest in one or two. They aren't Robin Williams standing on desks and inspiring the world! But American schools do have art, music, theater...as part of the school day, for pete's sake! Go to other countries and see how much of that you get without your parents having to pay for it at private academies and such.

Yet another spoiled product of parents who probably sit around and whine about how not everything is handed to Americans on a silver platter.

May she grow up to be more appreciative of the opportunities afforded her here.
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My high school vetted our graduation speeches before we were allowed to give them. I think one guy vetted a fake speech and changed it for the actual graduation. They made a big stink about not giving him his diploma, but eventually they gave in and gave it to him.
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I think it's a very good speech and for the most part, I identify with it. I think many who take issue with it fear change in the current situation.
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