Marvin Wright was the senior class president at Southwest Edgecombe High School in Pinetops, NC, and had the chance to give a final sendoff to his peers at grad. However, he soon found out that, instead of saying how he felt, the administration wanted him to deliver a short speech they had already crafted. “I felt robbed of a chance to say my own words,” the 18-year-old said to the Washington Post. Hell, it was his moment, not the school’s!
His mom, classmates, and teacher encouraged him to be a rebel with a cause, and give his own speech anyway. So come graduation day, Marvin stood up on the podium and read his own speech off of his cell phone. His classmates and the rest of the audience loved it, but the school’s principal, Craig Harris, didn’t. So much so, he snatched Marvin’s official diploma out of its folder before Marvin walked across the stage! Seriously???
So, after the ceremony, when all of his friends were posing with their diplomas, all Marvin had was an empty folder. Obviously hurt and humiliated, he and his mother Jokita tried to track down his diploma. A senior adviser explained to them what had happened, and they marched straight to Principal Harris, accusing him of censorship. The principal, however, stated that Marvin missed a deadline to turn in his own speech for review, but that was the first Marvin heard of any deadline!
It took this grad a full two days to get his diploma, after Principal Harris himself dropped it off at Marvin’s house at the request of the Edgecombe County Schools superintendent. The superintendent went even personally called Marvin and apologized. “I have communicated with the family to apologize on behalf of the school,” Superintendent John Farrelly said in a statement. “The diploma never should have been taken from the student.”
Exactly. After all of that though, the damage is done. On a day that should’ve been filled with nothing but pride and happiness, this principal made it into a day with a bunch of drama and humiliation. Was it really that deep, man?
Nonetheless, Marvin got his diploma right on time to commit to the U.S. Navy! He will report for duty on October 10, and plans to study pediatric surgery. Congrats to him!