High School Valedictorian’s Graduation Speech Cut Off by School Officials

June 21, 2017 Updated: June 21, 2017

A high school valedictorian’s graduation speech was cut short by school officials after he went rogue.

Peter Butera started off by thanking his family and teachers.

“Throughout my time at Wyoming Area, I have pursued every leadership opportunity available to me. In addition to being a member of Student Council since I was a freshman, my classmates have elected me Class President the past 4 years, which has been the greatest honor and I would like to thank you all for that one final time, it really means a lot,” he said, KFOR reported.

But then he went off-script—he began to criticize school administrators.


“I would sadly discover however, that the title of Class President could more accurately be Class Party Planner, and Student Council’s main obligation is to paint signs every week. I’m not sure when actual student government at our school became extinct, but it must be brought back. Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government and the authoritative nature that a few administrators, teachers and a few board members have prevents students from truly developing as leaders. Hopefully in the future, this will change,” Butera said, according to a video recording of his speech.

(See video at the bottom)

He added: “Hopefully for the sake of future students, more people of authority within this school will prioritize the empowering of students as well as preparing them to further their educations. Because at the end of the day, it is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives, but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area Alumni. And I hope that every one of my fellow classmates here today, as well as myself, will go on to do great things in this world, and find true happiness and success. Thank you all for coming out to this great celebration today.”

His microphone was then cut off.

While school administrators may have succeeded at silencing the valedictorian at the time, Butera got to finish his speech on television during “Jimmy Kimmel Live” where Kimmel himself praised the young man for speaking out. 

“All you really did was give the school, like, a two-star Yelp review,” Kimmel told Butera, “You really didn’t do anything bad.”

“Whoever turned that mic off should not be in charge of any education of any kind,” Kimmel told his audience.

Butera will start his college career at Villanova University.