Commencement speaker tells grads they’re ‘not special’ (CNN)

From CNN:

“David McCullough, Jr., an English teacher at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts.  McCullough’s recent commencement speech to Wellesley’s Class of 2012 could be pared down to one sentence: You’re not special.

McCullough, son of the famed historian, told the graduates that they’ve been pampered all their lives by parents, teachers and others, but now they need to slip up and make mistakes as they try to make it as adults. ”

You can catch part of McCullough’s speech in a video on the link below:


About UWF Center on Aging

The Center on Aging at the University of West Florida was established in the Fall of 2010 when the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences faculty along with assistance from Sponsored Research submitted a grant to the State University System Board of Governors in support of aging initiatives for Northwest Florida. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of aging adults through the application of science to address challenges associated with aging and to promote healthy aging, with an emphasis on prevention. This will be accomplished through inter-disciplinary and inter-professional efforts of basic and applied research, consultation, and partnerships with community agencies. Education and training, direct services to the aging population, and public awareness and understanding of the contributions and needs of elders will be primary objectives.
This entry was posted in Employment & Retirement and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Commencement speaker tells grads they’re ‘not special’ (CNN)

  1. Nic says:

    I can see why someone might hear that “you’re not special” soundbite and assume that this was going to be another teacher who actually has no business being a teacher because of their self-esteem stripping tendencies. I assumed that at first too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan or denier of the increasing culture of entitlement, but I am even less of a fan of anyone who assumes that every student thinks the world owes them a living.

    I took the time to listen to the entire speech though, and it isn’t designed to strip self-esteem at all. When he says “you’re not special”, he isn’t saying “you’re worthless”. He’s saying that the hard work doesn’t stop here, that nothing is going to be handed to them. He’s saying that you shouldn’t aspire to “special”, that you should do something in life because you believe in it, not because it’ll make you a person of importance in the eyes of others. Become an engineer or a scientist by all means, but do it because it’s what you want to do with your life. Don’t do it because that’s what your parents or your friends expect from you. Don’t do it because of the status, because those are the graduate jobs that are sure to earn you respect.

    Fair enough, your dreams do always have to be tempered with reality and there is quite a bit of idealism in David McCullough’s speech. Few of us will be able to chase our dreams, throwing everything else to the winds, but we do all have the option of doing things for the right reason. If nothing else is understood from this speech, that part ought to be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s