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Joined: 2007/10/28
Posts: 1232
United States

 Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech

The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years." The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast – How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.


 2010/7/31 14:26Profile

Joined: 2007/6/27
Posts: 1573
Omaha, NE

 Re: Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech

Perhaps schools should focus upon life skills;
teaching students what is necessary to achieve
in life. This includes understanding we are
here for a reason, that we have a purpose in
life, and having a path to realize that purpose!!

Martin G. Smith

 2010/7/31 14:42Profile

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


"When you have have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

And the university has both eyes on your wallet!


Mike Compton

 2010/7/31 16:42Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


I recall the late Dr. Ken Connolly reminding us that in the reformation years men were not judged by how well they could copy down their notes on a test, but by how well they could defend their subject in public debate. It is sad when education becomes noting more than a means of downloading information (albeit often temporary) into the minds of students while simultaneously stifling critical thought. No wonder we are living in an age of such apathy. Creativity is very much gone. Sad it is.

Robert Wurtz II

 2010/7/31 19:42Profile

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