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High School Teacher Gives Tough Love Graduation Speech: Are You Exceptional or Just Like Everyone Else?

News 2012/06/11 13:00:00
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Usually, graduation speeches encourage grads to charge into the world with their chins held high, that diploma proudly tucked under their arm. You've graduated college; you're exceptional; it's time to make something of yourself. But that's not exactly how David McCullough Jr.'s speech went when the English teacher spoke at Wellesley High's commencement this year. On the contrary. He told graduates they're just like everyone else, and the controversial message immediately went viral.

McCullough said, "You are not special. You are not exceptional ... Even if you're one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you ... You've been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble wrapped ... We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement ... The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you're not special. Because everyone is." What do you think of the tough love speech?

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Top Opinion

  • El Prez 2012/06/11 17:21:45
    I'm exceptional!
    El Prez
    +10
    Because I have spent the better part of my life making sure that I am exceptional. However, by the standards set by Mr. McCullough, I am not unique. Unique is rare, exceptional is more easily attained. The later day inclination to give trophys for participation, praise all miltary personel as heros and in general dilute real achievment and heroism, has created something of a feeling of special priviledge among some of our youth. The "tough love" speech might be useful so long as the message of carrying on to find your exceptional character is contained within. He was trying to wake them to the truth and that is always good.

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Opinions

  • tracy.m.miller1 2012/06/11 17:57:08
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    tracy.m.miller1
    unless i do something remarkable I am just like everyone else, some days I am worse and some days I am better.
  • thє вluє wαndєrєr 2012/06/11 17:53:43
  • Confederate 2012/06/11 17:48:49
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Confederate
    +1
    I am unemployed just like 76% of people who are graduates from university colleges. Lucky me or smart me from dropping out while I still had money.
  • MOMMA THOMAS 2012/06/11 17:48:00
    I'm exceptional!
    MOMMA THOMAS
    +1
    I THINK GRADUATION IS A TIME WHEN MOST STUDENTS NEED A PEP SPEECH... THEY'VE WORKED HARD UP TO THIS POINT, AND THEY'RE ABOUT TO ENTER INTO A NEW ARENA TO COMPETE FOR ANOTHER GOAL. WHAT COACH TELLS HIS PLAYERS YOU'RE NO BETTER THAN ANY GUY ON THE OTHER TEAM?
  • Confede... MOMMA T... 2012/06/11 17:54:24
    Confederate
    +3
    Yep thats exactly what a coach shuold say, no one cann win if they do not work as a team.

    if you have one team at a highschool and you have another team at a highschool what do you have two buntches of kids it all comes down to the caoching.
  • FanOreilly 2012/06/11 17:45:44
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    FanOreilly
    +5
    He's right.

    You entitled little idiots are not special. Get a job and behave like responsible adults for a change.
  • smitty FanOreilly 2012/06/11 18:08:30
    smitty
    +1
    He is also a teacher.. kinda ironic that a teacher in one of the most messed up government programs is telling kids they are pampered when he himself is probably one of the prized employee as a teacher, a male.
  • GUY FAWKES FanOreilly 2012/06/11 18:10:41
    GUY FAWKES
    +1
    How about you behave like a grown man and get off this site and get back to work grandpa.
  • FanOreilly GUY FAWKES 2012/06/11 18:42:38
    FanOreilly
    +3
    I would except I am having fun laughing at babbling idiots like you.

    Guy Fawkes was a terrorist sodomite.

    Do you sodomize men and try to blow up buildings too?

    I just want to know so I can keep my knife at the ready to defend myself.
  • GUY FAWKES FanOreilly 2012/06/11 20:55:11
    GUY FAWKES
    +1
    Too late I already had my way with you ;)
  • FanOreilly GUY FAWKES 2012/06/12 00:54:10
    FanOreilly
    +1
    You may want to but sorry no, I am normal.

    Run along now boy there are adults discussing here.
  • GUY FAWKES FanOreilly 2012/06/12 19:58:59
    GUY FAWKES
    Are you implying that gay people aren't "normal"?
  • FanOreilly GUY FAWKES 2012/06/14 18:31:05
    FanOreilly
    No I am stating the obvious that homosexuality is a dysfunction.

    Need proof?

    What happens to homosexual species in the animal kingdom?

    They die off.

    Homosexuality is deadly dysfunction.
  • GUY FAWKES FanOreilly 2012/06/17 23:18:20
    GUY FAWKES
    Oreilly I would love some proof! If you can possibly send any evidence of their imminent extinction send it to my mailing address.
    241 Hampshire Street
    Cambridge
    MA
  • FanOreilly GUY FAWKES 2012/06/18 17:24:59
    FanOreilly
    Another college dandy.

    I grew up and left Cambridge decades ago.

    If you have the stones, I recommend you do the same.
  • GUY FAWKES FanOreilly 2012/06/18 18:33:04
  • Reichstolz 2012/06/11 17:42:05
    I'm exceptional!
    Reichstolz
    +6
    One of the most realistic commencement speeches I have heard.
  • LILY 2012/06/11 17:37:52
    I'm exceptional!
    LILY
    +2
    exceptional person i am sorry theres no one like me.
  • SuperTrooper 2012/06/11 17:33:29
    I'm exceptional!
    SuperTrooper
    lol
  • Angelica Thrasher 2012/06/11 17:32:13
    I'm exceptional!
    Angelica Thrasher
    I am definitely not like everyone else but that does not make me better than anyone else. That just means I am not like anyone else! XD
  • aeline.widya.1 2012/06/11 17:26:04
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    aeline.widya.1
    +1
    wtf...
  • El Prez 2012/06/11 17:21:45
    I'm exceptional!
    El Prez
    +10
    Because I have spent the better part of my life making sure that I am exceptional. However, by the standards set by Mr. McCullough, I am not unique. Unique is rare, exceptional is more easily attained. The later day inclination to give trophys for participation, praise all miltary personel as heros and in general dilute real achievment and heroism, has created something of a feeling of special priviledge among some of our youth. The "tough love" speech might be useful so long as the message of carrying on to find your exceptional character is contained within. He was trying to wake them to the truth and that is always good.
  • Jackie ... El Prez 2012/06/11 18:25:42
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    Well said
  • Ed El Prez 2012/06/11 20:05:51
    Ed
    +2
    I agree. Later on in his speech he stressed for individualism, become a go getter , no one's going to give you something for nothing because you are special. He also pointed out the greatness of selflessness. He did a great job.
  • phil 2012/06/11 17:18:01
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    phil
    If it works it works
  • Horace 2012/06/11 17:17:51
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Horace
    +3
    I love how according to this poll 51% of people are exceptional. This word may not mean the same as what people think it does.
  • Myopinionmatters 2012/06/11 17:13:53
    I'm exceptional!
    Myopinionmatters
    +3
    I have the scores, and the talents to qualify this, but most of all I actually work to achieve my full potential, something that really stands out with this years graduating class (I just graduated). Therefore I am exceptional, because I actually care and don't waste my entire life YOLOing.
  • mae Myopini... 2012/06/12 03:22:47
    mae
    Good luck with that.
  • Sebastianchocolatebeargiles 2012/06/11 17:13:50
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Sebastianchocolatebeargiles
    +1
    I can't really choose an answer because both are true. It is not This OR That. It is THIS AND THAT!
  • John Minatree Jr 2012/06/11 17:11:11
    I'm exceptional!
    John Minatree Jr
    +1
    Trust me. I am.
  • biggerman 2012/06/11 17:09:09
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    biggerman
    This guy is quite cynical - he is making a valid point but it is an over-simplification. But all-in-all, it was a brilliant speech. I hope those butt-heads sitting behind him were listening. The fact is that none of us, in ourselves, is special - we are, in fact, completely "unspecial" and the selflessness and humility are truly the hallmarks of being human and that thinking that we are "special" (whatever that means) is an element of "fallen" man's worst and most ungodly trait - pride. "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble."
  • jackie 2012/06/11 17:09:04
    I'm exceptional!
    jackie
    +2
    Yea theyre are just like everybody else until one comes up with the cure for cancer.
  • Buzzymuzzwelle 2012/06/11 17:02:15
    I'm exceptional!
    Buzzymuzzwelle
    +5
    This is a great speech. When I went to Parris Island for my daughter's Graduation into the Marines, I was amazed at the site of Rows of yellow foot prints on the pavement. When recruits arrive at the base they are lined up on theses foot prints. The one thing that is drummed into them is that they are NOT special. They are but a cog in a machine.
    It is how they adapt and develop as a Marine that makes them special. As we went
    into a small ceremony, they actually used "Grunts" as door stops. 8YRS later she is
    a sergeant with a tour in Afghanistan under her belt. And she like every Marine I have
    met is exceptional. Every one is born with talent. That means nothing. You have to work hard to become exceptional. Buzzy
  • smitty Buzzymu... 2012/06/11 18:11:10
    smitty
    "The one thing that is drummed into them is that they are NOT special." It is called breaking their spirit so they will comply. It is needed in that case.
  • Rdtourist 2012/06/11 17:02:09 (edited)
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Rdtourist
    +2
    Nice to hear the blunt and unadulterated truth once in a while!

    I compare this speech to the one I heard a while back talking of employment and real life, with comments like "Your Bosses, unlike your teachers, are NOT your friends."
  • Honeybuns 2012/06/11 17:00:54
    I'm exceptional!
    Honeybuns
    +1
    I like that the teacher gives the student tough love. And some of things he says i agree with .But i think everyone is different and special in their own way. Not everyone had been treated the same way their whole life. And not everyone is american. Everyone acts different from eachother, Not everyone looks the same, and many other things.So everyone is special and exceptional in there own way. I agree and disagree with this teacher.He could of atleast said one good thing to the students.
  • Aksana 2012/06/11 16:56:16
    I'm exceptional!
    Aksana
    +1
    lm exceptional
  • Mtnsmith 2012/06/11 16:48:20
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Mtnsmith
    +1
    He made the point that if everyone is exceptional, then no one is; the word loses its meaning when it refers to more than a few.

    This is a hard concept for young people, who have been told since the first time they pooped somewhere near the potty that they were awwwwesome!!!

    It is a form of abuse to convince children that they are super just because they exist, with no need to put forth any effort on their part. Ask job interviewers about the flip-flop wearing teen who wants to start at $20 an hour.
  • Kevin 2012/06/11 16:48:17
    I'm exceptional!
    Kevin
    +1
    This is the same crap the president is trying to shove down our throats, that America should be just like France. We are an aspirational country with exceptional citizens and we should never forget it. If the students need a shot of reality, then let's bring back the draft.
  • Sammy 2012/06/11 16:48:13
    I'm exceptional!
    Sammy
    People who try to make a differnce amd try to be the best they can be are exeptional and the dude who made this speech sounds very bitter.

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