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'You are not special,' English teacher tells graduating Massachusetts students

One English teacher had a message for this year's graduates of Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Mass.: They aren’t special.

In addition to exhorting the Class of 2012 to pursue distinctive lives, Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough delivered some sobering words: “None of you is special. You are not special. You are not exceptional.”

The educator called the graduating students “pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble wrapped... nudged, cajoled ... feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.” 


“Contrary to what your U9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you … you’re nothing special,” he said in his speech, published in the Boston Herald.

McCullough rattled off statistics, saying numbers were stacking up against the graduating class. He said half of the class would be divorced and life wasn’t going to revolve around their every whim.

"Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That's 37,000 valedictorians ... 37,000 class presidents ... 92,000 harmonizing altos ... 340,000 swaggering jocks ... 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs," McCullough said in his speech.

He added: "Even if you're one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you."

Near the end of his speech, he urged the graduates to use that revelation as a springboard to a fulfiling life: 

"The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you're not special. Because everyone is."

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