High School Valedictorian Delivers Speech in Spanish - Sparks Debate

A valedictorian at a Orestimba High School in California gave his commencement address in Spanish and sparked a debate among board members and officials, reports Fox News Latino. Saul Tello, Jr., told local media that he wanted to do it in both English and Spanish, but that he was told there would not be enough time. California is 38 percent Latino, and Tello said he chose to deliver it in Spanish to honor his parents.

Taking the stage, Tello apologized to the audience who didn't understand Spanish and delivered his speech. The principal, Jessie Ceja, has received both negative and positive feedback, including remarks that while it was his right, English is the language of the state and many attendees do not speak Spanish and could not understand the speech. Ceja stands by his decision to let Tello deliver his speech the way he wanted: “The student earned the right as valedictorian, I feel, and if he felt that way I decided to give him that opportunity,” Ceja said. The Salutorian's speech was given in English.

Many school board members argued that the speech should have been printed in both English and Spanish, so that everyone could understand. Moving forward, administrators are looking into having both language versions printed on inserts for all speeches delivered at commencement.

Do you think Tello should have stuck to English to deliver his speech? Should they have given him more time to deliver his speech in both languages? Share in the comments!