West Boca High School Principal Mark Stenner took the stage on May 22 at the South Florida fairgrounds expo center and started the commencement address.
“Commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism…” Stenner can be heard reciting before hundreds of parents and graduates in this video posted to the Palm Beach County School District’s website.
But there’s another commencement speech recording that may sound familiar to Stenner’s speech. Massachusetts’ English teacher David McCullough, Junior addressed the class of 2012 at Wellesley High School.
A speech written three years earlier; a speech Principal Stenner repeated almost word for word, but never mentioned McCullough.
McCullough’s speech went viral, uploaded to YouTube with more than 2.5 million views. It became known as the “You Are Not Special” speech and landed him a book deal.
WPBF 25 News went through both speeches line by line. Other than slight word changes here and there and different location examples when necessary, the majority of Stenner’s speech seems to echo McCullough’s without giving credit.
WPBF 25 News reached out to both Principal Stenner and the Palm Beach County School district. Neither could comment.
Berzinski was told an investigation is currently underway and the matter cannot be discussed. The district added, “it holds its employees to the highest standards of ethics and integrity.”