It seems that every year, there’s at least one high school principal who at best can’t be bothered to check that s/he is using the latest draft of the graduation speech, and at worst can’t be bothered to write an original speech and thinks nobody will notice if s/he recycles an old speech, even if somebody else’s.
Either way, such attitudes might be thought to show great contempt for the graduating class. It might be your great day, they seem to say. I’ve got other things to think about…
This year seems to have set new records. There have been at least three headline-making cases, and there may be more to come.
There’s the now ex-principal of Mead High School, who claimed he was distracted by serious family illness while writing his speech; he had intended to cite his sources but he ran out of time. (Principal explains why he plagiarized graduation speech)
There is the now ex-principal of Franklin County High School, who claimed he was inspired by another writer’s words which were so apt that he felt he could not say anything better himself; such a pity he did not say whose words they were. (Principal Resigns In Wake Of Plagiarized Graduation Speech.) His letter to the editor of the Brookville American-Democrat is a masterpiece, worthy of inclusion in the principals’ training course unit on graduation speeches.
And now there is the (not yet ex-) principal of Roosevelt High School. It seems that he wrote to the author of the words he used, asking for permission to quote from the speech in his address for the school’s yearbook. Somehow, though, it was (he claims) an early draft which got sent to the printer; only the names of three students singled out for honourable mention were changed. This principal did not name the author of the original speech, and he did not change the name of the school. He concluded his address to the Roosevelt High School Class of 2014 with the words: “Congratulations to the Albany High School Class of 2013.” (High school principal congratulates wrong school in plagiarized graduation message)
Every year, these cases make headlines (even if the vice-president of the Roosevelt High School board doesn’t think it is newsworthy). You’d think they’d learn, wouldn’t you?