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Speech Impediment

An alternative to valedictory speeches

Written by Cameron Mays

The most irritating unifier amongst those engaged in public address is a desire to be universally liked. I believe the politician, the comedian and any other speech giver would be much more happy and therefore much more tolerable if popularity was not a job requisite. The saddest of the bunch is the valedictorian, responsible for a valedictory speech at high school and university graduation ceremonies. Higher education in America is no longer limited to Puritan priests or Trans-Atlantic elites, and the same can be said about the audience at graduation. Thus, a valedictory speech quite literally must appeal to all walks of life. Spend fifteen minutes outside Papa John’s in Berkman Hall and you will realize the impossible task assigned to every valedictorian.

A valedictorian’s desire for the title is pure, in the sense that it is purely so they can put "valedictorian" on a resume. Not a single valedictorian has any interest in addressing the scores of simple-folk unfortunately marked as their peers. Nor should they. Why should such an enlightened being, nourished by the bosom of Athena, be forced to speak to an audience nourished by the tap of Becky’s? It is downright silly. I trust the systems of academic elitism and I would like to satisfy the clandestine desires of the epitomized personification of such a system.

Thus, I am offering a deal to the future valedictorian of Cleveland State University. I will deliver the valedictory address on your behalf. I do not want designation as the valedictorian. Keep it — you deserve it. I just want to talk uninterrupted for four to five minutes in front of a ton of people and test my theories about public address. Since I doubt the valedictorian-to-be reads the Vindicator (they likely get their news from talking ravens), it is unlikely I will give the valedictory speech. Thus, I made a video of what my speech might look like.


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