Nataly Buhr, 2019’s valedictorian at San Ysidro High School in San Diego, delivered a graduation speech that likely no one will forget.
In her remarks — which are going viral — the high school graduate blasted an alcoholic teacher and an “unavailable” guidance counselor for teaching her some valuable lessons during her senior year.
What did she say?
In her June 6 remarks, Buhr thanked her absentee counselor for “letting me fend for myself” and ignoring her appointments.
“To my counselor, thank you for letting me fend for myself,” she said. “You were always unavailable to my parents and I despite appointments.”
Buhr added, “You expressed to me your joy in having one of your students be valedictorian when you had absolutely no role in my achievements.”
She also issued pointed remarks toward a “regularly intoxicated” teacher, whom she said was an “alcoholic,” and thanked that teacher for educating her on the dangers of alcoholism.
“To the teacher that was regularly intoxicated during class this year, thank you for using yourself to teach these students about the dangers of alcoholism,” Buhr quipped. “Being escorted out of school left a lasting impression.”
Students at the commencement ceremony gasped and covered their mouths in shock.
Of her speech, Buhr said that she hopes it encouraged other students to “speak up.”
Buhr did, however, speak out in support of teachers who had done a good job throughout the school year for remaining “invested in the students’ education and well being.”
She even hit out at office staff in her remarks.
“To the staff in the office, thank you for teaching me how to be resourceful,” she said. “Your negligence to inform me of several scholarships until the day before they were due potentially caused me to miss out on thousands of dollars.”
Buhr concluded her speech with a warning to other students and future staff.
“To future students and staff,” she said, “learn from these examples.”
Buhr’s mother Nataly said that she is proud of her daughter for delivering such remarks.
“I was proud she spoke up and got it out,” she said. “It is something that takes a lot of courage to do.”
The new grad also said that she received a lot of positive feedback in response to her speech.
“In the beginning I recognized and thanked those who I believe went above and beyond for the students,” she said. “I understand that those I criticized may be facing personal issues, but I don’t think that should affect their commitments or the school’s responsibility to fulfill those commitments. I didn’t expect for change to come from my speech, but I was hoping it would encourage more students to speak up.”
One person not pleased by Buhr’s remarks is Manuel Rubio, spokesperson for the Sweetwater Union High School District.
“It’s unfortunate that the words of a student like this are taking away from the positive,” he said in a statement. “There are a lot of teachers working very hard for our students it’s unfortunate that she decided to air grievances.”
Rubio also said that the teen’s speech was both “out of line” and “inappropriate.”