Source: NewsCore WELLESLEY, Mass.—A Massachusetts high school teacher told graduating students "none of you is special" in a lively, if unusual, speech.
David McCullough Jr., who teaches English at Wellesley High School near Boston, made the point repeatedly in a blunt address last Friday in which he highlighted the "pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped" graduates' existence.
The commencement speech has won approving comments since being posted on local blog The Swellesley Report.
"You've been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored," McCullough said. "You've been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have."
But he warned them, "Do not get the idea that you're anything special. Because you're not."
McCullough pointed out that "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," he added.
"You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless," he said, before musing, "We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement."
McCullough ended his address on an optimistic note, though.
"Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction," he urged his audience. "Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency."