This Valedictorian's Speech Was Cut Off, But the Ending Went Viral
When high school valedictorian Peter Butera went off-script at his graduation speech, the school administrators cut his mic, seemingly not wanting his constructive criticism aired.
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Butera's microphone was shut off and he was quickly ushered off the stage. His message? As class president, he felt the student government wasn't set up to effectively teach leadership skills.
"I would sadly discover that the title of Class President could more accurately be Class Party Planner, and Student Council's main obligation is to paint signs every week," Butera said in his speech. "I'm not sure when actual student government at our school became extinct, but it must be brought back."
Just before the school cut him off, Butera said, "Despite some of the outstanding people in our school, the lack of a real student government, combined with the authoritative attitude that a few teachers, administrators, and board members have, prevent students from truly developing as leaders."
He got out just one more sentence, "Hopefully in the future, this will change" before he was forced to end the address early. But the graduating senior would not be silenced and posted the text of his speech on Facebook, where it's gone viral. There are hundreds of comments and the post has been shared more than 500 times at time of writing.
But that wasn't the furthest Butera's message spread. Jimmy Kimmel heard about the speech and invited Butera to finish it on air.
"Hopefully for the sake of future students, more people of authority within this school will prioritize the empowering of students as well as preparing them to further their educations," Butera's message continued. "Because at the end of the day, it is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives, but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area alumni."
It's a hopeful message and now that's it's been magnified by late-night TV, maybe more schools will consider how to give their students opportunities to learn leadership skills that prepare them for their next endeavors.
Libby Ryan is Editorial Assistant for Parents.com.