A graduating high school senior, president of his high school senior class, had his diploma withheld for about two days because he refused to read the speech that was given to him by administrators and instead read the speech he had been working on for two weeks.
Marvin Wright, the president of the Southwest Edgecombe High School senior class, stayed up until 5 o’clock in the morning of the event to finish his graduation speech that he had spent two weeks working on, according to the Washington Post, .
But later that day, the principal of Southwest Edgecombe High in Pinetops, N.C., told him he would be giving a different address, a five-sentence paragraph prepared by the school administrators. He gave him no explanation.
“I felt robbed of a chance to say my own words,” the 18-year-old told the Post.
When he stepped onto the stage at the end of the commencement ceremony Friday, he opened up a folder under the podium containing the school’s prepared remarks:
I would like to thank all of our friends and family for being here tonight. I would also like to address my fellow graduates one last time before we leave this gym. Although we may all never be in the same room at the same time again, we will always share the memories that we created within these walls. And no matter what we all do after graduation, never forget that this is one place that we all have in common, this place is home. Congratulations graduates, we did it!
But instead of delivering those words, he took out his cell phone and read a copy of his original speech. You can read the full speech here.
When all of the students went to line up to receive their official diplomas. Marvin’s was missing, and his senior adviser told him that the principal had removed it because he had read the wrong speech, the Post notes.
“All my friends were outside with their big yellow folders taking pictures and I was still inside, trying to get my diploma,” Marvin told the Post. “I was really hurt and embarrassed, basically humiliated.”
It took another few days before Marvin got his diploma, with the principal dropping it off at his home at the request of John Farrelly, superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools.
“I have communicated with the family to apologize on behalf of the school,” Farrelly said in a statement. “The diploma never should have been taken from the student.”