A Pennsylvania high school valedictorian whose graduation speech was cut off after he criticized Wyoming Area School District administrators may have gotten the last laugh this week, thanks to a little help from Jimmy Kimmel.
In the 2017 Wyoming Area High School valedictorian and class president speech, Peter Butera said the “authoritative attitude” of several administrators and teachers in the district “prevents students from truly developing as leaders.” Wyoming Area High School is in Luzerne County, about two hours north of Philadelphia, near Scranton.
A video shows the teen’s microphone being cut off at the school’s graduation ceremony:
The silence, however, did not last long. Butera appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night, where the host invited the new grad to finish his speech on the air, far from the reach of censors.
This week, the school district said Butera had submitted an initial draft of a critical speech to administrators, and it was approved. School officials said later that Butera made unauthorized changes to the approved speech, WNEP-TV reports.
“The school pulled a Kanye on the kid,” Kimmel said of Butera’s speech. “Whoever cut that mic off should not be in charge of education of any kind.”
Kimmel, who added that Butera’s comments amounted to “a two-star Yelp review” of the school, then left the airwaves to the grad.
“Hopefully, for the sake of future students, more people of power within our school who do not do so already will begin to prioritize education itself as well as the empowering of students,” Butera said. “Because at the end of the day, it is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives, but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area alumni. And I hope that every one of my classmates here today, as well as myself, will go on to do great things in this world, and achieve true happiness and success.”
Butera added that he will be attending Villanova University in the fall, where Kimmel told him to continue “being a pain in the ass.”
“I will,” Butera responded.