Principal Interrupts Valedictorian's Speech

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POSTED: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 5:35pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 10, 2011 - 10:43am

SOCORRO- The El Dorado High School Principal interrupts the Valedictorian's Speech during her graduation.

Through four long years of study and sacrifice, she earned the honor of high school valedictorian.
And then her crowning moment is interrupted, by her own principal.
We spoke with the El Dorado High School student this afternoon.
She says her speech didn't contain anything derogatory but the school changed it without telling her.
She felt the message was gone, so she decided to recite the original.
That's when things got awkward.
"I wanted to include everybody to make sure it was memorable and inspirational as well." That's what Stephanie Paredes wanted when she gave her graduation speech as valedictorian of El Dorado High School.
But no less than a minute in, that moment was interrupted.
In a video posted on YouTube, you can see Principal Nora Paugh walk up and after a few moments she puts her hand over Stephanie's script.
Stephanie stops talking and the two exchange words.
"She basically told me to stick to the script she'd prepared," Stephanie said.
Stephanie says the school edited her speech without telling her. Then gave her a different version they'd prefer she read.
She showed us her original script.
It didn't seem at all derogatory.
That's why she decided to go up and read the original.
"Their main argument was about time constraints. But I feel, you work hard for 4 years, for that moment to speak to the class on a personal level."
We spoke to Pat O'Neill from the Socorro Independent School District. He doesn't believe the principal did anything inappropriate.
O'Neill says she just didn't want Stephanie going over on time.
"The context of the speech never changed. It wasn't edited. Mrs. Paugh was just there to make sure it went smoothly," O'Neill said.
Still, Stephanie's father feels the principal's actions ruined his daughter's moment.
He's glad Stephanie didn't back down and finished reading her original speech.

 

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The level of personal, mean-spirited attacks in the comments has reached a new low for this story and further comments have been suspended.

700 graduates didn't want her up there longer than she had to be. Get over it, Stephanie. Now go on to utep & see if you can make your own rules and turn in papers late to your professors. I think not

haha you silly little minion. is it jealousy that gets the best of you? Because I'm sure somewhere in your small petite mind that there's a fraction of intelligence that could even compare to what this prestigious youth worked hard for. Maybe you're upset that she got accepted to a better university than you? Its okay maybe someday someone will love you...eventually that is. Keep it real little one! Your spunk will lead you to a phenominal gas station one day...

FYI my comment was for jimcar13 and gloryroad. haha. jealous little tikes!

@JohnR52 I do applaud Stephanie for being valedictorian, but I am not jealous. The reason for that is I will be attending a very prestigious institution that I am positive Stephanie did not get into. I am not saying she does not deserve to be valedictorian; she does deserve it. Both of us were very successful in different academic areas.
Lastly, I know the speech wasn't arrogant in itself. I'm saying the action taken was arrogant. She should not have brought a longer speech.

@pro: It seems more arrogant to give yourself that kind of name more than anything. It also seems very silly to me that you call someone arrogant and condescending just because they went a few minutes, if not less, over the time limit, and especially since she did not even talk about herself, and all she did was thank fellow students and teachers. Could it be perhaps that you are jealous that your weren't given the same opportunity she was? It sure seems that way to me.

totally agree with you john, this girl earned it....the sour ones are just jelous they weren't able to put that much effort to be standing up there after the 4 years, so sad it came to this......that principal needs a slap across the face for ruining a girls hard work!!!!

Ghost23 you make no sense. Everyone is blaming the school district and I don't see why. Schools have to go to such drastic measures because teenagers are so disrespectful and think they know everything so they have to treat them as adults, which means taking them to court and so on. The administration should have given her another chance to shorten her speech to insure that her speech was her own. Also the pricipal shouldn't have interupted her in that manner just because of a time constraint.

I agree that the speeches are boring and only important to the student and her parents...BUT she had earned the right to do her speech(boring or otherwise),by censoring/time constraining her,they diminished the effort that she made,to BE the valedictorian.If the speech is an honor EARNED by the student then let her do it how she wished,otherwise it's an empty honor and they shouldn't even have them do a speech at all.The principal only showed the value she placed on student's scholastic efforts

I am extremely happy our principal interrupted the speech. I was present when the speech length was given to all the speakers. If everyone else followed the time frame, why does she believe she had the right to be exempt from it? It is extremely arrogant and condescending. She can't be upset if she gets in trouble for breaking rules she was fully aware of.

People need to get over it. I attended the same exact high school, one is only allowed to speak for a certain time - I talked at graduation. It's a school function, they decide what happens at graduation. If ANYTHING she should be happy they even let her speak. People need to get over it.

jimcar13 - You're ridiculous and if it was your child you wouldn't be saying any of that. She earned the right to go up there and give HER speech no matter the length. It isn't easy to become valedictorian. She earned this time and that bully of a principal ruined her moment. I can't even believe what a jerk that lady is. At least the girl has graduated and doesn't have to deal with that principal anymore. But the principal was definitely in the wrong.

FILE A LAWSUIT FOR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS VIOLATION AND LET THE DISTRICT ANSWER FOR THEIR POSITION TO CENSOR. THE PRINCIPLE IS A PRODUCT OF THE MR. O'NEIL CORE BELIEF SYSTEM. FREEDOM IS TAKEN FROM THE YOUNG SO THAT THEY WON'T KNOW WHAT THEY LOST. THE OLDER CITIZEN REMEMBERS WHAT FREEDOM WAS....THE YOUNG MUST DEFEND FREEDOM AT ALL TIMES. TO DO NOTHING IS TO SUPPORT THE PRINCIPLES ACTION....WIN OR LOSE...FILE LAWSUIT...DON'T LET IT BECOME SO EASY FOR THE DISTRICT TO DO IT AGAIN TO THE FUTURE.

PT 2. Yes, these are kids, not adults. I guess the Schools need to make money for the City. The Schools make money for the Judges, the Judges make money for the P.D and Schools. Many will say that the schools are not baby sitter's. Well fine, send the kids home. If kids are ignorant, its their fault. What's the deal about "trying" to make every kid learn at the same level? Not all kids grasp studies the same way. We all have different learning levels. Imagine all Chief's and no Indians.

The manifestation of Teacher's and now Principals showing their Gustapo like tactic's has come full circle. Some may think I am using harsh words. This is an eye opener for many Parents that don't know what is happening in our schools lately. Student's are now getting tickets(fines) if they speak out of turn, or what they call "interrupting the class". I have posted many a blog asking the News Media to check into this. Have them report how many students are being sent to court for "stupidity".

How rude of the principal.... Shame on mr. Oneil for backing her up!!

The video clearly shows the principal pointing to what the student is supposed to read and stayed by her side throughout the speech. That seems like a form of censorship.Time constraints are always discussed long before the actual ceremony so the students can prepare their speeches accordingly. That is an easy out for Mr. O'Neill. But who is defending the students right to freedom of speech? I agree with the parents. Their daughters moment was ruined by over controlling principal.

OF COURSE PAT O'NEIL WILL BACK UP PRINCIPAL. THEY ALL BACK EACH OTHER UP NO MATTER HOW WRONG THEY ARE!!!

Can you post her speech?

Hey KTSM, nice to see you guys listen to our show in the morning! Next time, give us a shout out and let your listeners know you got a story idea from Mike and Tricia Mornings on 93.1 KISS FM!

Tricia: Actually, we didn't get the story idea from your show. Stephanie's brother, John, emailed us about the story on Monday. -Kai

in your face Trish and whatever morning show lol hahahahaha!

Mike and Tricia, great job! You guys are great :-)

hahaha

Talk about being a bully and what an example of our adminstrators running the schools. This young lady earned the right to read her speech and there was nothing wrong with it but a power trip by the principal. The principal stated that she was worried about time constraints, was it being filmed for a national veiwing audience.....cue the award music.

Time limit isn't the issue!! You already have the audience there, no on'e leaving. You just have a lady that ruined a shiny moment in a young girl life. Way to go!! Teach them to speak their minds, but sensor them at your convenience.

Plus her speech was very boring and I was very glad it ended. Everyone else in the crowds are always yawning during any ones speech. I think the principle did the right thing and it was the girls fault. She could have saved her self from embarrassment.

Very boring why did you go then if speeches are boring, oh yes one of your relatived graduated ha. of course to you the principal did the right thing, let me see your nose, i knew it

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha i totally agree, sorry ghost you just made my morning that was funnier that that guys reason to justify why it was right to change the girls speech.....good one ghost....

I was at the graduation and this girl knew that her speech had to be 2 minutes long. She could have practiced her speech and made sure it was two minutes long. They never edited the wording that just cut it shorter. I think the principle did nothing wrong. They have a schedule to follow. Personally, I really do not care about any ones speech at a graduation and understand why they give everyone a time limit because the speeches are boring. The only people who care are her and her parents.

Of course not why the idea of a school district doing something wrong is just unthinkable, and you are selling a bridge from where?

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