Saturday, June 14, 2008

This blog post is not plagiarized.

At the risk of turning this blog into the "Central Ohio News Source", I have more news to report from my childhood home.

The 2008 valedictorian from my alma mater, Circleville High School, has been stripped of his status after admitting that he plagiarized his valedictory speech from another graduation speech that used Beatles lyrics. Now, he is threatening a lawsuit against the school district if he is not reinstated.

The YouTube video from which he apparently stole the idea and words has been taken down (as has an AOL video version), but it appears that graduation speech was patterned after an earlier graduation speech that can be seen in this blog post about the chain of speeches.

These events interest me because I, too, was a valedictorian at Circleville High School in 1988. Well, whoop-de-ding-dong-dandy, you might be saying, especially if you're from Circleville, Ohio, where folks say stuff like that.

Notice that I said "a" valedictorian, not "the" valedictorian. There were five valedictorians that year. It wasn't that hard to be valedictorian at Circleville High School, was it?! There were 168 students in my graduating class, which means that nearly 3% of the graduating class were valedictorians. Two of them went to Ohio State, one went to Miami University (in Ohio), one went to Princeton, and I went to Ohio University.

In case you'd like to call my status as valedictorian into question, you can look at this older post about how I maintained my grade point average in drivers' education.

I'm particularly amused by this quote from his lawyer that appears in the Chillicothe Gazette: "He had the highest G.P.A. in the history of the school." Well, sure, that's easy to do when you can earn 5's in courses when formerly only 4's were possible. When they start awarding 6's for students who suck up extra hard, then the Fifth Beatle's record will be surpassed.

This all might sound like I'm defensive and still hung up on things like this, but to tell the truth I think being a high school valedictorian actually hindered my education. When I went to college, I chose courses based on whether I thought I could maintain my grade point average rather than whether I thought I could learn and grow in that course. I turned away from learning opportunities out of fear.

Well, everyone has to learn that these things are not that important. It took me a while down the road to learn. It's unfortunate that the Fifth Beatle has to learn in a particularly public and painful way.

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on.


michelle said...

Wow, after making it through high school I wouldn't think a valedictorian would go about plagerizing his speech! Seems like a bad way to 'prepare' for college.

Anonymous said...

I would also think that if you are valedictorian that you should be able to write your own speech and should even want to draft something that was of your own creation, even if you just got up and said to my classmates it's been great, to my teachers thanks for what you have taught me and to my family I love you all. How hard is it, I wasn't valedictorian nor even close to it and I just came up with something original.

ShoeStorm said...

Do you go for that ten stage all day mutli or go for the traditional .10 away in a parking lot? No need to answer, just ponder.