we were eleven year olds, or four year olds. We received superior teachers and additional resources based on our status as “gifted”, while kids who naturally needed those resources much more than us wallowed in the mire of a broken system. And now, we stand on the precipice of our lives, in control of our lives, based purely and simply on luck and circumstance. If you truly believe that the demographics of Hunter represent the distribution of intelligence in this city, then you must believe that the Upper West Side, Bayside and Flushing are intrinsically more intelligent than the South Bronx, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Washington Heights, and I refuse to accept that. It is certainly not Hunter’s fault that socioeconomic factors inhibit the educational opportunities of some children from birth, and in some ways I forgive colleges and universities that are forced to review eighteen year-olds, the end results of a broken system. But, we are talking about eleven year-olds. Four year-olds. We are deciding children’s fates before they even had a chance. We are playing God, and we are losing. Kids are losing the opportunity to go to college or obtain a career, because no one taught them long division or colors. Hunter is perpetuating a system in which children, who contain unbridled and untapped intellect and creativity, are discarded like refuse. And we have the audacity to say they deserved it, because we’re smarter than them.
As students, we throw around empty platitudes like “deserve” and “earn”, most likely because it makes us feel better about ourselves. However, it simply isn’t the case. I know for a fact that I did not work as hard as I possibly could have, and I think the same is true for everyone on this stage. Nevertheless, people who work much harder than we ever could imagine will never have the opportunities that lie in front of us.
I apologize if this is not the speech you wanted to hear, but you will have the rest of your lives to celebrate your...
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