A California valedictorian used her high school commencement speech last week to accuse office staff of nearly making her lose out on scholarship money, a counselor of never having time for her and another teacher of being consistently drunk in class. The address has since gone viral.
Nataly Buhr, a senior at San Ysidro High School in San Diego, began her address by thanking her parents, friends and a few select teachers for inspiring her to achieve success. She then continued to “thank” other school employees whom she said taught her valuable lessons by failing to do their own jobs.
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Without mentioning the names of school employees, Buhr launched her attack by beginning with the school’s main office staff.
“Your negligence to inform me of several scholarships until the day before they were due potentially caused me to miss out on thousands of dollars,” she said.
Graduating seniors line up at a high school in Cleveland, Aug. 16, 2007. (Associated Press)
“To my counselor, thanks for teaching me to fend for myself,” the senior continued. “You were always unavailable to my parents and I, despite appointments. Only in these past few weeks, with the awards ceremonies and graduation coming up, did you begin making your appearance.”
Buhr then mentioned one teacher who was “regularly intoxicated during class.” “Thank you for using yourself as an example to teach students about the dangers of alcoholism,” she said. “Being escorted by police out of school was a lasting impression. I hope that future students and staff learn from these examples.”
Manuel Rubio, a spokesman for the Sweetwater Union High School District, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Buhr’s speech deviated from the pre-approved version submitted before the graduation ceremony.
Without commenting on the specific allegations in the speech, Rubio said the student’s comments were “inappropriate and out of line” and that while the school welcomes student concerns about staff, a graduation speech is not the “right way of handling this.”