In Covington, Ky., both the graduating valedictorian and student council president at Holy Cross High School learned hours before their graduation ceremony on Friday night that they would not be allowed to deliver their planned speeches at the ceremony, ABC reports.
So they found a pair of megaphones and delivered them outside. “The young people will win,” valedictorian Christian Bales said, “because we’re finished being complacent.”
In his speech, Bales praised the fight for stronger gun laws by school-shooting survivors in Florida, and applauded his classmates for participating in an anti-abortion march, saying students should “continue to utilize our voices.”
Officials with the local Catholic diocese said parts of his speech were too political and not in keeping with church teachings. A spokesman for the Diocese of Covington, Tim Fitzgerald, said, “When the proposed speeches were received, they were found to contain elements that were political and inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church,” Fitzgerald said in a statement to ABC.
“The [student council] president [Katherine Frantz] is my best friend, and we have been two huge advocates for social reform in our community, which has likely put us on the radar for the diocese,” Bales told WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.
“We are dynamic, we are intelligent, we have a voice, and we’re capable of using it in all communities,” he said in his speech, which he has posted online. “We must take what we’ve learned in this community and apply it to the world we are about to encounter.”
Video of Bales’s speech went viral, with the Twitterverse cheering on the valedictorian.
Principals like this could really use a remedial civics class. Forbidden from delivering speeches praising the value of youth activism, valedictorian and student council president take up megaphones outside their own graduation. https://t.co/OniwYSE7Kf
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) May 27, 2018
"Rather than allowing opposition to silence us, we must utilize it as empowerment. As long as we nurture our minds as youth, we'll be able to be equally impactful as we encounter the world," Bales said.#TheYoungPeopleWillWin https://t.co/fzREE5BYfB via @ABC
— Agent Carter (@AgentCarter_SSR) May 28, 2018
I predict a bright future for Christian Bales. We need more impassioned voices in the sciences. Congrats on your full ride to @UofL.
Denied permission to speak at his own graduation, Holy Cross valedictorian delivers speech outside https://t.co/FcmsL90GEJ
— Roxanne Prichard (@RoxannePrichard) May 27, 2018
I just read Christian Bales’ speech, can somebody point out the part that was against traditional Catholic beliefs? I didn’t see it. https://t.co/wBKFJmoa5Z
— Keme (@dj_keme) May 28, 2018
Eighteen-year-old Bales is an openly gay student who says he plans to major in biology at the University of Louisville, where he has an academic scholarship.
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