Entries in Speech (2)


Oklahoma Valedictorian Denied Diploma After Using 'Hell' in Her Speech

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(PRAGUE, Okla.) -- The father of a recent high school graduate in Oklahoma who has been denied a diploma because she said "hell" in her valedictorian speech has accused her principal of bullying his daughter.

"She became a senior and he constantly picked on her," Kaitlin Nootbaar's father, David, said of Prague High School principal David Smith. "I thought bullying wasn't supposed to be allowed in school."

Neither Smith nor superintendent Rick Martin responded to messages asking them to comment.

In her speech, Kaitlin, 18, told her Prague, Okla., audience about how she has changed her mind numerous times about potential career choices, her father said.

He said Kaitlin spoke of how she once wanted to be a nurse when she was younger, but then wanted to become a vet. She summarized her dilemma, her father said, with, "How the hell do I know? I've changed my mind so many times."

The teen told her parents she drew inspiration for her speech from the movies Eclipse, which is the third installment of The Twilight Saga film series, and The Hunger Games.

Eclipse includes a graduation scene in which the speaker says, "Who the hell knows."

Kaitlin's speech was met with laughter and applause, her father said. The class valedictorian walked the stage and graduated along with the rest of her class.

Her transcripts were sent on to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford and life went on as usual until she and her father went to collect her diploma from the high school office last week.

"The principle shut the door on us," David Nootbaar said, "and told us she [Kaitlin] will type apology letters to him, the school board, the superintendent and all of the teachers," in order for her to obtain her diploma.

Kaitlin has told her parents she does not intend to write the apology letters but, her father said, still believes she is entitled to the diploma.

The straight-A student who has "never received a B in her life," her father said, is now enjoying her first days at college at Southwestern Oklahoma State.

She has decided to major in biology, her dad said, to become a marine biologist -- for now.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama Praises SEALs in Commencement Speech

ABC/Donna Svennevik(CEDAR FALLS, Iowa) -- First lady Michelle Obama on Saturday praised the bravery of the Navy SEALs who carried out the raid on Osama bin Laden, calling it "the essence of the word 'service,'" in her commencement address at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

The theme of her address to the graduating students was the value of service to others.

"Just imagine, a small group of brave men, dropped by helicopter, half a world away in the dead of night into unknown danger inside the lair of the most wanted man in the world," said the first lady. "They did not hesitate, risking everything for us, for our freedom and security.

"And they did it not just as Navy SEALs. They did it as husbands, as fathers, as sons," she said. "Their families were back here, with no idea of their mission or whether their loved one would ever come home. That is the very essence of the word 'service.'

"And the least we can do is give something back to these troops and their families who have given us so much."

This speech marks the first time a person from the White House administration directly publicly acknowledged the SEALs' role in the raid on bin Laden.

Obama's commencement address was also the first of the 2011 graduation season and her first visit to Iowa since the 2008 presidential election, which she warmly talked about during the 30-minute speech.

"The more that I shared my story with all of you and you shared your stories with me, the more I realized that what truly connects us is our shared values, in the end there is so much more that unites us than divides us," Obama said.

About 17,000 people gathered in the UNI-Dome for the graduation ceremony, which featured the Northern Iowa Symphony's "Fanfare for a First Lady," a piece composed by Rebecca Burkhardt, a UNI music professor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio