Every now and again, you come across someone’s words that confirms what it is that you always knew to be true but always felt uncomfortable exclaiming, for the fact that you felt you were alone in your thinking. Erica Goldson, an 18 year-old valedictorian out of New York used her moment during graduation to give a speech that has already gained international attention. She says to the packed graduation audience:
I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system.
She later goes on to speak about that one adult who allowed her, even encouraged her, to express an opinion, critically think and counter textbook doctrine and it becomes clear that her one year of interaction with an educator who did attempt to direct her thinking when she was in 10th grade made an impact on her that will most likely last a lifetime. What she speaks of is the necessity in creating a world of positive youth development that provides young people the opportunity to express, earn, explore, perform and grow.
What better person to speak out about our current educational system then someone who has been heralded as its best outcome? Take a listen and share your thoughts. You can view the full text of the speech HERE.
For those reading who are parents or those who work with youth, how do her words impact or collude with your thoughts on the educational system and/or the environment in which we raise and work with youth today?
As you can imagine, Erica has been getting a lot of press for her outspoken speech. Here is one interview with the Breadless Circus that cuts off before its done but still worth listening to.