Commencement Speaker Tells Grads They Are 'Not Special'. Do You Agree?

The speech by a Massachusetts English teacher, who is the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian from Pittsburgh, is a YouTube sensation.

David McCullough Jr., an English teacher at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, MA, and the late Randy Pausch may soon have something in common.

Pausch's last lecture to students at Carnegie Mellon University became an Internet sensation viewed by millions, an international media story, and a best-selling book that has been been published in more than 35 languages.

When McCullough, son of the historian David McCullough of Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood, told graduates at Wellesley High over the weekend that they were "not special" because, among other things, that "on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you," his speech quickly became one of the most watched videos on YouTube, reaching 250,000 views in one day.

It remains to be seen if his humorous and inspiring message will resonate the way Randy Pausch's did. But what McCullough had to say is thought-provoking. 

McCullough went on to say:

"Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools.

That’s 37,000 valedictorians … 37,000 class presidents … 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.

But why limit ourselves to high school? After all, you’re leaving it.

And consider for a moment the bigger picture: Your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe. In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it."

What do you think of McCullough's speech? Agree? Disagree? How do you think this speech would be received at the Pine-Richland commencement ceremonies?  


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