WEB EXTRA: Vance valedictorian speech denied - | WBTV Charlotte

WEB EXTRA: Vance valedictorian speech denied

(The following is a Valedictorian Speech, written by Jeremy Dennis of Vance High School in Charlotte.  The principal told Dennis he could not give his speech because she thought parts of Dennis' speech were inappropriate.)

I would like to say how honored I am to stand before you here on this day. But before we all move on and go our separate ways, let us first remember all of those who helped us get here. Those who were there to join us in our celebration, those who were there to comfort us in our sorrow, those who were there to nurture us over the last few years.

Yes, today let us thank our classmates, friends, family, and our teachers.

For weeks in advance I pondered on how I could write the perfect graduation speech to impress all of you, so as any young scholar would do I went on Google and typed: perfect graduation speech hoping to plagiarize.

However, as I sat and read through other students' speeches, it hit me that we aren't like any other high school, trust me I did my research.

In fact we are the only high school who's students are forced to walk 720 feet up and down a mammoth flight of 70 stairs every day. A bit ridiculous, I know, I've been doing it for four years, and for those of you who were wondering that's a total of 197 miles.

However, many of us have come to learn there are many ways around this hike to school.

There are those to attempt to park down the hill in the visitors spots; yet, they take the risk of getting towed or losing driving privileges. And then there are those who park across the street in the apartment complex who's cars often disappear, take for instance Anthony Gonzales.

And then there are those who chose to scooter down the hill, often exceeding 10 mph, who take the risk of serious injury and humiliation.

Clearly there are many ways to overcome this hill that every student comes upon at least once in their four years at Vance; and although we all have our different ways of tackling this monumental ascent, I've learned we all end up on top at the end of the day.

We've become so accustomed to overcoming this seemingly miniscule task every day, and it's this commitment that sets us apart from other schools.

Now as we stand atop this hill and look down on our institution, we realize how far we've come since the day we walked into Vance.

These past four years, full of strife, obstacles, and times when our losses seemed to dwarf our gains, have shaped us into the successful young men and women we are today. Throughout our years in high school, we've all felt many of the same joys; being accepted into college, doing well on a test, and winning homecoming.

We've also felt the same anguishes; being rejected from college, doing poorly on a test, and a pain I believe every Vance student knows well, struggling with every last muscle in our bodies to successfully mount those last few stairs at the end of the day.

You no longer have the energy to keep going, and yet there those challenging stairs sit, staring at you, laughing at you, and insulting your manhood. You must conquer this hill, and more often than not, we do prevail, and this determination will serve us well in the future.

For there will be many more hills that we must climb in our journey through life. Yet as I look upon my fellow classmates, I have no doubt that every one of you will make it to the top, regardless of what stands before you.

I must say though, that there is one last thing this hill has taught us; and that is the ascension is always better with friends. Whether it's just one friend or an entire group, pushing one another up those last few steps at the end of the day, we all realize as we stand amongst our friends that the view from the top was well worth the climb.

Because one day we will be back, whether it's in a week or many years from now, and I can say I won't be afraid the make that climb again with all of you.

Congratulations Class of 2010 we made it to the top.

-  Jeremy Dennis, Vance High School

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