Published On: Fri, Jun 7th, 2013

Harold Shaw, Florida graduate has speech interrupted by principal for going ‘off script’

Wharton High salutatorian Harold Shaw Jr. spent hours and hours writing his graduation speech hoping to inspire his classmates to pursue their lifelong dreams. Sadly, his farewell address to the Wharton Class of 2013 will likely be remembered more for the remarks he didn’t get a chance to make.

Wharton Principal Brad Woods pulled the plug on Shaw about halfway through his speech at the graduation ceremony after stumbled through a few words, which we “off script.”

Wharton speech interrupted by principalHis stumbling over a sentence, and continuing by saying “Just do what it takes” warranted the interruption says county officials.

Watch the video here

According to Hillsborough County Schools spokesperson Steve Hagerty, Shaw wrote two previous speeches that were deemed inappropriate. The principal even met with Shaw and his mother to discuss his concerns about the student going off script.

Shaw says after he stumbled, he continued by the script, and sees no reason why he couldn’t finish his speech. In fact he says, he wants an apology.

Shaw additionally described the principal’s actions as spiteful and embarrassing.

He believes it may be retaliation for a short film he produced and posted on his personal Facebook page to draw attention what he described as unsanitary conditions in the boys’ bathrooms at the high school.

Shaw’s attorney, Tom Parnell, said his client did not stray from the prepared address.

“I watched the video and read the speech,” Parnell said. “It was fantastic. He didn’t go off topic; he just stumbled a little.”

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  3. Anne in MA says:

    The rest of his speech:
    “Being realistic places limits on us, it corners us into a box that is socially defined instead of individually assigned, for only you can place limits on yourself if you care to, but don’t let anyone, and I mean anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something because you don’t have what it takes. People that the world remembers are those with spunk, and courage to fight and persevere through clouds of criticism and seas of naysayers. Imagine if Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King just gave up on his quest for civil rights in the 60’s just because somebody told him that he was being unrealistic. He had a dream and he put in all his might to fulfill it. But if you dare quit on your dreams, if you dare cheat yourself of your end goal, if you conform to the world around you, you will have given up on yourself, given up on the horizon of possibilities and become another forgotten person in our world. The power of making your dreams a reality only lies within you. It is up to you to etch your future. It is up to you to believe in yourself more than anything else.

    As I reach the end of high school, I have come to realize that inspiration and motivation comes from many sources: yourself, life events, parents, friends and necessity to name a few. I would like to thank my amazing mother for having me, and for putting up with my antics, my father for being a steadfast father figure and supporting me throughout the years, my beloved grandfather who is surely watching from heaven, hey I will always be your “socio”, which means pal in Spanish, my lovely grandmother, I love you and thank you for always being there for me. Thank you to my wonderful friends who stood by me during my ups and downs. Also, thank you to all my teachers, those who understood me for their patience, and to those who didn’t, those who empowered me to be better and to those who provided me with unique leadership opportunities like attending Boys State and to my guidance counselor for all her support and encouragement.

    Looking back at these last four years it has been an awesome journey filled with fun memories, challenges, obstacles, things that turned right and some that didn’t, triumphs and failures all as part of this amazing growing experience called high school.

    I wish the class of 2013 much success in everything you do and as I said before never give up on what you set sail for. The future is yours and only yours. Go forth and make the best of it!!

    Thank you, see you at the reunion! Peace!

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