First Black Valedictorian Speaks At City Hall After High School Denies Him Graduation Speech

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

Jaisaan Lovett graduated as the first black valedictorian of his High School in Rochester NY; but, instead of traditionally speaking at the school, University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men, he spoke at Rochester’s City Hall.

The school’s principal barred the young scholar from speaking at the graduation ceremony. Upon hearing the news, the city’s Mayor Lovely Warren, who knew Lovett from his two years as an intern in her office, offered to let him give his valedictorian speech at City Hall.

The mayor also went so far as to make sure his speech was broadcast on her YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Lovett has acknowledged that his history of student protests has led to a prickly relationship between him and the principal. According to USAToday, the student once led a five-day student strike because the school wouldn’t order needed safety equipment for a lab.

The school’s board of trustees has released a Facebook statement saying they’re looking into the circumstances regarding the situation. However, by the time they come to a conclusion, it will likely be too late.

Lovett will be attending Clark Atlanta University in the fall on a full ride scholarship.

Check out his speech below:


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