Last week, the Senior class president Peter Butera of Wyoming Area Secondary Center in Exeter, Pennsylvania, went off-script as he gave his Commencement Address (he was also the Valedictorian). When he began to criticize the school administration, however, his microphone was cut, and he was escorted off the stage.
Which brings us again to the Law of Unintended Consequences.
The school administration didn't want the speech heard by those few in attendance. What happened, though, is that Jimmy Kimmel not only brought the 18-year-old onto his TV show last night, which shined a massive Kleig light of attention on the event -- but also gave him a national platform to complete his speech! Far, far beyond those few in attendance.
One quibble: at one point, Kimmel asks the young man what his grade point average was. Butera starts to explain that his school doesn't use traditional letter grades, which brings Kimmel quickly jumping in with a joke about the student trying to weasle out of answer. Unfortunately, he didn't realize that no Valedictorian would try to weasle out of anything about his grades and, more to the point, when making his joke he doesn't hear Butera explaining that instead the school uses a 100-point scale for grading, and he was about to give his score on that level, when Kimmel cut him off. I'm going to make a wild guess -- given that he was Valedictorian -- that his grade score was very high.
That aside, as you'll hear, his speech -- including what he hadn't been allowed to say -- is awfully thoughtful and good.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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