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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

  • DavidK Common ... 2012/06/15 06:15:08
    DavidK
    +1
    it was fun while it lasted......... ;)
  • Common ... DavidK 2012/06/16 05:41:47
    Common Sense Conservative
    Yessir
  • Common ... DavidK 2012/06/14 19:37:51
    Common Sense Conservative
    And FINALLY she blocked me.
  • DavidK Common ... 2012/06/14 23:47:19
    DavidK
    +1
    she has no defense and ran out of insults! Congrats!
  • Common ... DavidK 2012/06/15 02:55:00
    Common Sense Conservative
    +1
    LOL, thanks again.
  • VICTORIA Common ... 2012/06/12 06:23:00
    VICTORIA
    And now abusive. What a shock. No wonder you express such sympathy for rapists and antipathy towards their vicitms.
  • VICTORIA Common ... 2012/06/12 06:00:25
    VICTORIA
    Yes the exact same standards apply. Dick.
  • Common ... VICTORIA 2012/06/12 06:19:07 (edited)
    Common Sense Conservative
    LOL, I'm the dick because of your misfortunes.

    Brilliant!!!

    Abusive? Please show me where I showed ANY abuse.
  • VICTORIA Common ... 2012/06/12 07:06:27
    VICTORIA
    No, you're just a dick for repeating abusive behavior.
  • DavidK Common ... 2012/06/14 23:50:00
    DavidK
    +1
    ask her why her "soul coal" wasn't imprisioned?
  • Common ... DavidK 2012/06/15 02:55:29
    Common Sense Conservative
    That's the best part
  • rightside VICTORIA 2012/06/12 04:52:03
    rightside
    +2
    You are exceptional as an individual. But, to think that you are the most important person in the world is just ludacris.
  • VICTORIA rightside 2012/06/12 05:04:13
    VICTORIA
    Or to think that you are the most important nation in the world.
    Thanks, I agree.
  • rightside VICTORIA 2012/06/12 16:18:40
    rightside
    Oh come on Victoria, putting words in my mouth is really not nice. I'm always straight forward with you and I don't think I deserve that.
  • VICTORIA rightside 2012/06/16 04:17:13
    VICTORIA
    Those were my words, and they don't detract from your own exceptionalism, or continued (and respected by me) honesty.
    But, how can we be a nation of unexceptional- and still be exceptional in the world stage?
    We're just one of many in a long line of history.
  • rightside VICTORIA 2012/06/16 05:01:51
    rightside
    Our country is one of the greatest countries in the world. I stand by that. Not because I said so, but because it has facts to back up the statement.
  • VICTORIA rightside 2012/06/16 05:10:58
    VICTORIA
    My concern is not with how great our country is- but that you thought I was being unkind to you.
  • rightside VICTORIA 2012/06/16 05:14:50
    rightside
    Unkind? No. But to change my words from a person to my country, does tend to make me think you are trying to put words in my mouth that I did not speak.
  • DavidK rightside 2012/06/12 05:46:48
    DavidK
    +4
    Shes a low life, trolling, muslim and Obama supporter. She's clueless.........
  • Happy 2012/06/12 03:36:58 (edited)
    I'm exceptional!
    Happy
    for some reason i thought this said "its exceptional" meaning the speech....
    although i am proud of the person i am and think i am only moving forward.
  • Mrs. Kathy Arch 2012/06/12 03:09:35
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Mrs. Kathy Arch
    +3
    It is what we do with our lives that makes us exceptional-not a diploma, or degree.
  • Anarchico Anthony 2012/06/12 03:06:07
    I'm exceptional!
    Anarchico Anthony
    I think its cool though that somebody isn't afraid to tell it like it is!
  • mae 2012/06/12 02:53:02 (edited)
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    mae
    +2
    A well-meant speech, meant to awaken-or reinforce-the need for passion about something as a means to achievement, hence, a plank in the foundation to becoming exceptional.
  • Texas Johnny 2012/06/12 02:50:45
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Texas Johnny
    +1
    Well, what I did athletically in college was exceptional but, other than that my life has not been out of the ordinary. As a teacher, I agree with this guy 100%. For too long we(society) have made our children so insulated from failure and the real world, it has effected them in every way. Kids are fat because parents won't let them play outside for fear of "stranger danger", so we buy them video games to keep an eye on them now, we can't get them out of the house. TOO LATE! If the kid is dumber than a sack of potatoes, we still make him feel good despite that fact because we don't want anyone to fell bad for themselves and we have to dumb stuff down and bore the smart kids to death and then they lose interest in school. (please note I am not talking about the special ed kids, just the lazy and stupid ones who are unmotivated) I feel the reason why our education system is failing so badly over the last 30 years was the self-esteem movement and outcome based education craze to name a few. Our country would be better off to let the kids fail ,take the hit on their ego,suck it up and carry on!
    marine corps boot camp
    WHAT IS THE CAPITAL OF BIRKNA FASO?
    Sir, I don't know sir.
    WELL TO DAMN BAD FOR YOU . YOU JUST FLUNKED GEOGRAPHY, DUMB-ASS!
  • Earthling Texas J... 2012/06/12 03:21:56
    Earthling
    +1
    Affected.
  • VICTORIA Texas J... 2012/06/12 04:08:23
    VICTORIA
    Does that apply to American exceptionalism?
  • Common ... VICTORIA 2012/06/12 04:52:23
    Common Sense Conservative
    +1
    Does that apply to American exceptionalism?
  • VICTORIA Common ... 2012/06/12 05:04:35 (edited)
    VICTORIA
    Does that apply to American exceptionalism?
    Yes, they';re equal.
  • Texas J... VICTORIA 2012/06/12 14:37:43
    Texas Johnny
    +1
    In order for us to stay exceptional, we need to have our to have our kids get used to failing once in a while and pick themselves up. I feel we are still an exceptional country in many respects, but we can lose it quick if we continue to insulate our kids and lie to them. Look at all the things we have done to help the world, all the inventions and innovations our country has produced and the very concept of America itself were not created successfully the first time out. I would like to quote Vince Lombardi on this one: "In the pursuit of perfection, we achieve excellence."
  • VICTORIA Texas J... 2012/06/13 03:13:16
    VICTORIA
    So it doesn't apply to American exceptionalism then?
    Somehow , magically- the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts?
  • Texas J... VICTORIA 2012/06/13 14:26:34
    Texas Johnny
    We are an exceptional country! Look at all the people that want to come here!
    There is something about this place it is the fact that we are so unique, but we can lose that if we continue to molly-coddle and insulate our kids from failing. And yes we are greater than the sum of our parts. The combination of many factors create a unique cultural situation that allows even the lowest born of us to rise beyond their station in life. George Washington Carver is a nice example I can pull off the top of my head. Now does this mean everyone will be a genius like Carver? No, but I am sure that you , yourself have moved up significantly from where you started as an 18 year old? That in many respects is exceptional and that makes America an exceptional nation, Let's say you were born in India, Africa or Asia, you would be born into a particular tribe, caste or social group and pretty much never be allowed to move out of it. Now, as soon as you move to America, within one or two generations your children and grand children would enjoy a better quality of life and have more chances for success than you would have if you stayed in your homeland.
  • VICTORIA Texas J... 2012/06/13 14:43:48
    VICTORIA
    Not any more.
  • Texas J... VICTORIA 2012/06/13 20:46:54
    Texas Johnny
    I beg to differ. If you feel we are no longer that way, well we can turn it around if the government got off people's backs and let them get on with it.
  • VICTORIA Texas J... 2012/06/14 02:55:46
    VICTORIA
    By investing in educating our children? That would be a good place to start.
    But the most obvious would be to try to solve the ever increasing wealth disparity- and 30 years of wage stagnation.
  • harasnicole 2012/06/12 02:16:12
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    harasnicole
    +4
    I think his speech was just taken out of context, twisted to make it sound like he meant "nobody is special" in a negative way. He wasn't being malicious. The ones who complained are just being oversensitive.
  • VICTORIA harasni... 2012/06/12 06:01:07
    VICTORIA
    Except when it comes to American Exceptionalism.
  • Anthony Souls 2012/06/12 02:15:42
    I'm exceptional!
    Anthony Souls
    I'm clearly not like everyone else: I don't fit into the world as it is or ever was; therefore, I'll go with this option :P

    Take care,
  • Raphy 2012/06/12 00:58:13
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    Raphy
    +6
    I would rather hear the truth. More teacher need to be like him. My high school history teacher was like that every day at school. An I respected him for it. To Mr. McCullough............Way to go man
  • PaulBot415 2012/06/12 00:41:17
    I guess I'm just like everyone else...
    PaulBot415
    +2
    What a downer, just because we all know we aren't special doesn't mean you gotta say it at someone's graduation lol.
  • some idiot who thinks he kn... 2012/06/12 00:41:06
    I'm exceptional!
    some idiot who thinks he knows everything
    +1
    That was amazing. And he is so right.

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