Maya Angelou Graduation Speech

Words: 1403
Pages: 6

Jessica Celeste Montoya
“This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there's something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me” -Maya Angelou. A teacher guides the future of the society. A person in his /her whole life learns a lot from teachers, so it is very important for teachers to set a good example for the society. Everybody learns from the teacher in some way by imitating them, so all teachers have a big responsibility to teach good things
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In this story it shows how a young black girl awaits with great pride and anticipation her graduation day. When the day finally arrives, her dreams and expectations are shadowed by the speech that Mr. Donleavy, a white man, gave to the graduating class of 1940. He was direct in sending the message of the graduate’s slim chances of having a rigorous career that was not athletic but he was indirectly condescending them and calling them inferior. Maya Angelou stated that “It was brutal to be young and already trained to sit quietly and listen to charges against my color with no chance of defense.” Donleavy gets the graduates to think and have doubts. “His words fell like bricks…”(pg 128) but he does not end the graduation. Ultimately the students still had pride at the end of the day and still recognize their own goals and self-worth regardless of societal standards. He is unsuccessful because they are “were on top again” (133). At the end of the story the class valedictorian, Henry Reed comes back with encouraging words that help the entire audience become alive and feel like they were on top again. What is particularly …show more content…
Gender posed a barrier for Angelou, she writes about her experiences with the segregated public school system in “graduation”. At the ceremony at her black public school in stamps, Arkansas ,Angelo recalls the deep humiliation she and her classmates suffered when a white man insured the ceremony to declare that while the white school recieved upgrades to its science and art classrooms, their Lafayette Country Training School would be privileged to recieve an upgrade. In “I Just Want To Be Average,” Rose recalls his friends words that enclose the resignation of students that were labeled as “vocational” or “working class.” In a society that declares the rights to liberty and justice for all, those two writes illustrate the endless problem of educational tracking and the effects of tracking on young students. Few American students will not be able to relate to the theme of education addressed in Angelou’s and Rose’s writing, I can include myself. But we grow up as if our futures were predetermined asked on our social class status, gender, and ethnicity. Our reality conflicts with the values we are taught about in social studies classes, that the American Dream is available to anyone who works hard enough. Angelou in particular acknowledges the arrogance recited at the graduation ceremony. The Lafayette students had just finished their