What Are Your Thoughts About Commencement Speeches in Spanish?
The way I see it, if my kid was graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, I'd be so deliriously happy and proud I wouldn't care what kind of a commencement address he gave. Shoot, he could get up there and sing Old McDonald Had a Farm -- he's valedictorian, woo-hoo! That's my boy! But I have to admit, the speech Orestimba High School valedictorian Saul Tello, Jr. gave at his graduation does kind of tug at the maternal heart strings.
It wasn't the content of the speech so much as the way he chose to deliver it: In Spanish, to honor his Spanish-speaking parents. Awww.
Of course, not everybody in the audience understood Spanish, which led to a bit of a problem.
Now, on the one hand, I get why non-Spanish-speaking audience members were upset -- it would kind of stink to not understand a word of the speech at your kid's graduation. But here's the thing: Originally, Saul Tello wanted to give the speech in both English and Spanish, but his principal, Jessie Ceja, told him there wouldn't be enough time. So Tello chose Spanish, for his parents' sake.
As a mom, I find that incredibly sweet. Plus, bear in mind that the population of California is 38% Latino. I'm sure his gesture was widely appreciated.
Apparently the school is planning to include inserts printed with both Spanish and English versions of the speech in future graduation programs, which seems like an excellent solution to me. Good luck, Saul!
Do you think giving his commencement address in Spanish was the right thing for this valedictorian to do?