Student denied diploma for not reading speech principal wrote

What’s a day in June without another high school commencement controversy?

Marvin Wright, of Southwest Edgecombe High in Pinetops, N.C., showed why he’s the president of his graduating class when he told school administrators through his actions what they could do with the speech they told him to deliver instead of the one he wrote, the Washington Post reports today.

“I felt robbed of a chance to say my own words,” Marvin, 18, told the Post.

This, apparently, is the speech he was told to give:

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!

It’s amazing the paper on which it was written didn’t float away, given how light on substance and meaning it was.

Young Marvin took out his cellphone and read his own speech instead.

So the principal withheld Marvin’s diploma.

“All my friends were outside with their big yellow folders taking pictures and I was still inside, trying to get my diploma,” Marvin said. “I was really hurt and embarrassed, basically humiliated.”

Two days later, the school superintendent ordered the principal to give Marvin his diploma.

“If your mom has any questions just give me a call,” the principal said when he dropped it off at his house before leaving. Inspiring words, indeed, sir.

“He can’t get that day back,” his mother said. “That was a special moment for me, it was a special moment for him.”

This week Marvin joined the Navy. After that he hopes to become a surgeon.

  • Bridget L.

    The pettiness that this authoritative figure of young minds showed is pitiful. I don’t understand how withholding a diploma is teaching anybody anything. It’s a little baffling how people get into these type of positions.

    • RBHolb

      This incident taught Mr. Wright quite a lot. It taught him about the arbitrary exercise of power. It also taught him about people who will order others to do something meaningless “because I can,” and then react badly when they don’t get unquestioning obedience.

  • James White

    It’s nothing more than a power struggle where someone in authority has little trust for others.

  • StevenAppelget

    All school administrators are presumed incompetent until proven otherwise.

  • lindblomeagles

    You really have to wonder what’s going on in North Carolina. Of all the states that could not afford another controversy, North Carolina has to be it, right? What did the school honestly think Marvin was going to say to the graduating class??? Did school administrators feel somebody, anybody, other than Marvin should have been Class President??? And when did giving the Principal’s speech become a high school diploma requirement???? The school’s actions sound personal to me.