“None of You is Special”

As the merriment of commencement commences, one if often inundated with tales of graduation speakers orating on how much students have accomplished, how much they can now achieve, all with a generally congratulatory tone for the impending graduates.

It seems Massachusetts’ Wellesley High School asked one of its English teachers to deliver the remarks to the graduating class of 2012.  And what did David McCullough, Jr. (the son of noted historian David McCullough) inspire his former students with?  Here’s some of it:

All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.

You are not special. You are not exceptional.

Contrary to what your soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special.

Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet.

Strauss includes the full text of McCullough’s (what’s the opposite of cheerleading) remarks.  It makes for an interesting read.

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