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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

  • Lucy JohnT 2012/06/11 23:50:56
    Lucy
    +1
    When I went to work and met up with some tough times, the thing that kept me going were the words of people who had loved me, encouraged me and told me I was great and just needed to work hard. High school or college is probably the last place you will hear kind words from the real world. So I think he was wrong.
  • Redneck Lucy 2012/06/12 00:11:02
    Redneck
    What I got from his speech was that mom and dad won't be there to wipe your nose and the only way you're going to prosper is by working hard and working smart. That's exactly what kids these days and kids of the past need to hear.
  • JohnT Lucy 2012/06/12 01:04:45
    JohnT
    +1
    Great point of view, we just differ on opinions.
  • Lucy JohnT 2012/06/13 05:00:50
    Lucy
    +1
    You too, I understand what he meant, but I just hate to hear negative talk from anyone. Guess I like a rose-colored world.
  • lee 2012/06/11 23:14:55
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    lee
    +1
    more Americans need to get this message.
  • Anonymouse ~superdoge~ 2012/06/11 23:13:29
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Anonymouse ~superdoge~
    +1
    Everyone's different but equal. We're all unique, but no one's special, everyone has their talents and drawbacks...
  • The Inc... Anonymo... 2012/06/12 01:46:31 (edited)
    The Incurable Pessimist
    Unique only in our genetic structure. Most jump on the bandwagon, be it smoking, weed, judgement.
  • AmericanVirus 2012/06/11 23:02:31
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    AmericanVirus
    +1
    I'm nothing special, many have done, continue to do, and will in the future do all that I have done, but no one person has done exactly everything I have done and thought every I have thought.

    I don't claim to be special, but I do strive for more, not for the sake of having more, but for the experience.
  • Grizzle 2012/06/11 22:56:36
    I'm exceptional!
    Grizzle
  • mind-pilot 2012/06/11 22:54:24
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    mind-pilot
    +4
    We elders have created a pampered generation(s). I never liked the "any boy can play" garbage they offered my kids in Little League. If you didn't practice to didn't play. And those entitlements went all the way through until college. This is a college induction speech, or a military induction speech. If we are all special then none of us are. If these young adults can't get the rythem of this teachers methods, then, maybe they should consider a trade school. Or a line-job. The bar is too high to let 'em think the competition will be minimal. I commend the man. For the guts to tell the upcoming generation the truth.
  • SOUL4REAL 2012/06/11 22:51:42 (edited)
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    SOUL4REAL
    +1
    I believe this teacher is talking about the "Narcissistic Generation"! There are so many people out here in this world feel they are special and deserve special treatment,that's the wrong attitude to have. We are all human beings "GOD" didn't make no one perfect,if we were why would we need "Jesus"? Why would we need to "Repent" for our "Sins" we are all "Flawed" human beings! A piece of paper doesn't make you special because anybody can get that same paper if they put their minds to it. "Jesus" was the only begotten "Son"! Man fell in the garden of eden,so that doesn't leave any room for "Perfection"! We are all the same in "GOD" eyes,one doesn't have no more then the other!!
  • Redneck SOUL4REAL 2012/06/12 00:13:33
    Redneck
    +1
    Actually, God did make us perfect, but sin messed us up. Perfect can't make unperfect. Just saying. I see what you mean though.
  • Lady Whitewolf 2012/06/11 22:45:04
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Lady Whitewolf
    +1
    WRONG SPEECH AT THE WRONG TIME.
  • Cthulhu Lady Wh... 2012/06/12 01:26:54
    Cthulhu
    +1
    I think the guy is overly negative too.
  • Lady Wh... Cthulhu 2012/06/12 09:33:42
    Lady Whitewolf
    +1
    I concur...!
  • rockyjr5 2012/06/11 22:43:31
    I'm exceptional!
    rockyjr5
    +2
    Everyone is special in many ways.Graduates are special, they work their butts off to walk the stage, so that makes them special. Most people takes life way too serious more than it should. This world is 50% about being serious and 50% about having fun, and most people gets mad, and cries like babies when people gets second chances when they don't get it right the 1st time, and that jerk is a good example for that person.
  • jas wats rockyjr5 2012/06/11 22:54:40
    jas wats
    Lets me guess, Americans high schools graduate. Just wondering.
  • rockyjr5 jas wats 2012/06/11 23:36:05
    rockyjr5
    All graduates.
  • actionjksn rockyjr5 2012/06/11 22:57:35
    actionjksn
    You are the poster boy for why our country is going to hell in a bucket. How the hell did you get a diploma writing like that, Exceptional? somebody has been lying to you.
  • rockyjr5 actionjksn 2012/06/11 23:37:54
    rockyjr5
    No, the reason why our country is bad, is because there are people who gives up on our dreams and life.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 00:20:13
    Redneck
    our country isn't bad, our society is working on it though. Tell you what, when you have a preger wife with two screaming little ones needing school clothes, tell me about your "dreams". There comes a time that if you haven't fulfilled your "dreams" that you're not going to, to an extent. You'll form new "dreams". Dreams are dreams, but life is life.
  • actionjksn Redneck 2012/06/12 01:53:54
    actionjksn
    +1
    You're going to have to keep it much more simple than that. This rockyjr5 looser's thought processes are not sophisticated enough to even figure out the meaning of what you just wrote. Hell he can't even put together even one semi correct sentence I can just about guarantee he's still living with mommy or Nana. But hey he's very special and oh so Exceptional. His dreams say so.
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 03:40:54
    rockyjr5
    Life is way better when people are yelling, jumping up and down, fired up, pumped up, and going crazy just because they are happy, and I will change this trashy world for the better, and no one won't stop me.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 04:56:55
    Redneck
    Only if everyone is madly in love with their career, which is rarely the case. Buddy, I'm going to lay some hard learned wisdom on you. It doesn't matter how much you enjoy your vocation, there will always be someone there trying to keep you from loving your work. Always! I understand what you're saying, I was the same way at 25, but at 40, reality has set in. I don't mean to be negative, because I do love what I do, but there are LOTS of times that I just don't want to get out of bed in the morning, but I have no choice. Come back in 10 years and lets talk.
  • Lucy rockyjr5 2012/06/11 23:52:17
    Lucy
    I think you are great.
  • rockyjr5 Lucy 2012/06/12 03:41:20
    rockyjr5
    Thanks.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 00:16:14
    Redneck
    All to often you don't get a second chance in the real world. You're always competeing against someone else in your career, always.
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 03:42:23
    rockyjr5
    When I'm done changing this world, than there will be second chances in this world.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 04:59:47
    Redneck
    I hope you're right, but you're not Jesus, so I'm not holding my breath. In the real world, if you screw up, there's someone waiting to take your place. You just hope to have a good employer or supervisor that understands to an extent.
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 05:27:38
    rockyjr5
    You're right I'm not Jesus, but I know that he would want his kids to make a difference when when things goes bad, and that's where I come in at.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 05:33:24
    Redneck
    You should always try, that what we should all do, but there is reality and at the end of the day, it's all we can do to just keep our bills paid. Good luck.
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 05:34:36
    rockyjr5
    The word is real, not reality.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 05:36:36
    Redneck
    that makes no sense
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 05:38:50
    rockyjr5
    Oh it makes perfect sense, take out the ity, and what does it say?
  • The Inc... rockyjr5 2012/06/12 01:49:06
    The Incurable Pessimist
    You deserve a good slap in real life. That's not how it is in real life, I pronounce that you have a-head-in-the-ass syndrome.
  • rockyjr5 The Inc... 2012/06/12 03:43:26
    rockyjr5
    Screw the real world. It's people like you are the reason why there are more hate than love.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 04:58:34
    Redneck
    What hate are you talking about? I'm not seeing hate in anything she says, just reality. On second thought, I don't think I was as gulable as you are when I was your age.
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 05:24:40
    rockyjr5
    There's no reality.
  • Redneck rockyjr5 2012/06/12 05:27:34
    Redneck
    Okay, keep saying that because something simular to it is coming at you at the speed of light and will hit you right in the face before long. There is no reality? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA
  • rockyjr5 Redneck 2012/06/12 05:30:24
    rockyjr5
    If that thing hits me, I hit it right back.

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