Jem Lugo, the 18-year-old valedictorian of a Florida high school submitted the graduation speech she wrote, but school officials found it appalling and rewrote it. The funny thing is, a lot of people think her original speech was a lot better than theirs.
Lugo—who had a G.P.A. of 3.98 and will be attending Harvard in the fall—wrote a thoughtful, funny speech that her fellow graduates probably would have enjoyed. Here are some excerpts of what she wrote (both versions of the speech were published online in Florida's St. Petersburg Times):
"We survived 13 grueling years of school, all for this moment, where we get to wear gowns that kind of remind me of a silk version of a Snuggie, and these hats that make every single one of us look absolutely ridiculous. Hate to break it to you, but no one looks good in these hats. Even you, Ben Noury."
"First off, get money. You can't do anything without money. Do something with your life where you're able to have a steady, reliable, source of income. Gamers, I'm sorry, but farming for gold in World of Warcraft is not considered a reliable, or socially-acceptable source of income."
"But, the most important thing I can tell you tonight is to remember where you came from. You were an eagle once. We've been through four long years here. Some of us have loved it, some of us have hated it, but we all had to endure it, and for all of us, it's finally over. What's Springstead going to be like without us?"
School officials said Lugo's speech was "too real." (By the way, the principal of Springstead, Lugo's school, has been fined a few times in the past for plagiarizing graduation speeches.) She felt that Lugo's speech "might offend some."
Are you offended by what you have read of Lugo's speech? Would you have been appalled if it was given at your kid's graduation ceremony? Do you think school officials have the right to censor a student's graduation speech?