PINETOPS, N.C. – Southwest Edgecombe High School senior class president Marvin Wright is his own person.
He delivered that message to school officials and others at graduation ceremonies on Friday, when he ditched the four sentence statement administrators insisted he read, the Wilson Times reports.
Instead, Wright went with a speech he worked weeks to prepare, and endured a petty punishment for sticking to his convictions.
“To be honest, the speech that they wrote wasn’t me at all,” Wright said of the prepared remarks. “I feel like they tried to belittle me in a way because I had more to say. I feel like they couldn’t describe the ways that I felt and the things that I experienced. There were only four sentences and I was like, ‘I really worked hard on this speech and as senior class president, I think I should read my own speech,’ and they was like, ‘No, this is what you are going to read.’”
“I think my classmates would like to hear what I have to say instead of the one you wrote for me,” Wright recalled for WRAL.
Wright’s mother, Jokita Wright, consulted with her son.
“My thing to him was to follow your heart,” she said. “He put God first. He spoke about his parents, his classmates and spoke about his mom.”
Wright explained to the Times how it unfolded.
“So it was time for me to speak at graduation and when I reached to get my folder off the podium, my speech wasn’t in there. It was the speech that they wrote. So the only copy I had of my speech was on my phone, so I took out my phone and read my speech,” he said.
“I was nervous because I was on stage, but what was really a distraction was because I was readying my speech, they was talking behind my back and I was trying to listen to what they was trying to say and also reading my speech,” Wright said. “It was just hard.”
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