Kelsey McLennon has lived in Wauwatosa with her two siblings and parents for her entire life. When not busy with school, she enjoys dancing, running, and spending time with friends. She is a sophomore at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, where she is involved in track, cross country, Latin club, and Irish club.
At a recent high school graduation, an English teacher, David McCullough Jr., gave this commencement speech:
I completely agree with Mr. McCullough. In fact, I’d like for someone to show this speech to my entire high school.
It seems that for the privileged teens of my generation everything is about being special… getting a better grade or having something unique to put on a resume. From what I observe, few people do anything just to do it anymore...they do it for the accolades; to be special.
In fact, at my high school, everything seems to be about the pursuit of college specialness. In fairness, I guess that’s what I should expect; after all they call it college preparatory. But, when it comes to the college search, I’ve been noticing that many students don’t even really care about how prepared they are or what a college campus or curriculum is like; what really counts is how smart and special they sound when tell people where they are going. It’s a crazy race to wear a sweatshirt that says: BETTERTHAN U!
This problem extends to the parents just as much as it does to the kids. Parents want their children to get part-time jobs or do an extracurricular activity not because the kid enjoys it or will learn good life lessons from it but because they worry about their kid having enough exceptional things to fill up a resume.
I wish that more parents and kids would realize that they are not special, just like Mr. McCullough says. I think that if this happened, kids would learn to help each other out to a greater extent than they do now rather than just worrying about themselves and what’s in it for them. We would trust each other more. Maybe if more students adopted a less selfish attitude and realized that they really aren’t special, high school would also be a much more enjoyable place to spend four years.