Valedictorian Address

Bryce Dershem

  • År: 2021
  • Sted: Eastern Region High School

Analyseret af
Louise R. Petersen, Elisabeth R. Knudsen, Sarah M. Koudal, Christopher Hölzler

“As I was saying...”

Derfor er talen denne interessant

Talen er interessant at arbejde med, fordi den retoriske situation ændrer sig både under og efter selve talens fremførelse. Fordi talen er gået viralt, har den startet en debat om hvad der er passende at sige i en dimissionstale og censur. Talen er skrevet til det fysiske publikum, der var tilstede ved dens fremførelse, men fordi den gik viralt, har den ramt et langt bredere og diverst publikum, hvilket ændrer talens situation. Talens dilemma er, at den skal leve op til nogle gængse forventninger om, hvad en dimissionstale er, fx at den er upolitisk, samtidig med at Bryces tilstedeværende publikum, hans medstuderende, ville synes, at det var mærkeligt, at han ikke adresserede sin queerhed og sit mentale helbred.

Den retoriske situation:

I amerikanske High Schools er der tradition for, at den elev på årgangen, der har det højeste gennemsnit, den såkaldte valedictorian, får lov til at holde en tale til deres dimission.

Talen bliver holdt af Bryce Dershem til Eastern Region High Schools dimission i 2021. Skolen har en regel om, at dimissionstalen skal godkendes af rektor inden selve dimissions ceremonien, men skolens rektor ville ikke godkende Bryce Dershems tale. Eftersigende bad han Bryce om at skrive talen om, så den ikke indeholdt referencer til hans seksualitet eller mentale helbred.

Bryce vælger dog at gå imod sin rektors ønske, og derved skolereglementet, og fremfører hans tale som planlagt. Dette resulterer i, at rektoren forsøger at censurere Bryce ved at slukke for mikrofonen og skifte talepapiret ud, men rektor lader som om, at det bare er mikrofonen, som er i stykker. Bryce kan dog huske sin tale udenad, og fortsætter sin oprindelige tale.

Talen blev filmet og uploadet til youtube, hvorefter talen er gået viralt. Det har startet en debat i USA om censur vs. ytringsfrihed, og hvad der er passende at sige til en dimissionstale.

Congratulations Class of 2021.

Thank you to the friends, families, and the entire Eastern High School community Who have believed in us and have helped make this day possible.

Throughout our high school years, I took for granted the accomplishment that all of us have achieved today. For so long, I believed graduation was simply something that happened. I didn't realize how wrong I was until it almost didn't happen for me.

We brand high school as 4 years of self-discovery, but few of us even know where to begin. After I came out as queer freshman year, I felt so alone. I didn’t know Who to turn to for support, for guidance [bliver afbrudt her].

As I was saying… We brand high school as 4 years of self-discovery, but few of us even know where to begin. After I came out as queer freshman year, I felt so alone. I didn’t know Who to turn to for support, for guidance. For a hug.

Every day at school. I outwardly smiled while inwardly questioning how we were supposed to link the different facets of Our identities: brother, Sister, queen, queer-lover, friend, human-being.

Even though my family, my friends, and so many amazing Eastern faculty believed in me, I needed to accept the unapologetic version of myself for myself. We all do.

But, before we can even start down this mad Of self-discovery, we gotta make sure we are doing okay and can handle the drive, especially when it comes to mental health. This has been the biggest aspect in my life as a student these past four years, and i'm sure it was for many of you too. As I struggled With my queer identity, I also began struggling more and more with mental illness, which only worsened With the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning September of senior year, I Spent six months in treatment for anorexia. For so long, I tried to bend and break and shrink to society's expectations. There are times then it's hard to know if we'll make it down the road at all.

As we walk beyond the halls of 1401 Laurel Oak Road, I would like to share what I believe is the most important thing I have learned at Eastern: You are not alone in your fight. With the belief of those around you, you do not have to suffer in silence. If you have struggled or Will struggle… I believe you. And, I hope you will believe others too.

From a formerly suicidal, formerly anorexic. queer...the list goes on for me and for all of us, one person's belief can save a life. With the belief of the Susan Pomerantzs, the Monique Goldthorpes, the Beth Freedners, the Chrystal Batemans, and the Megan Ledets of this world, I am here With you all today. I am a fighter, and today, I am a survivor.

And gosh, I am so happy and so proud to be standing here today, Sun on my face, creating a life worth living and this lasting memory with you all.

Whether you are going Off to college, enlisting in the military, joining the workforce, I hope you believe in how much you needed to overcome simply to be here today. lt’s incredible and no simple feat.

Part of our identity, Our struggle, is our year: 2021.

We're still here though...we adapted to something we never thought possible. You are fighters, YOU are survivors. Today. I would like to recognize the community that we have created together, made of powder puff games and spirit week walls, smiles in the hallways and endless 6 minute talks. Of OUR stories, the ones that inspire me and Will Stick With me long after we've left this field.

If I leave you With anything today, let it be belief. Whether it be in your best friend, your child, a student, or simply yourself, believe.

While we may wish to push aside Our high school years for the next chapters in Our lives, I hope you believe in the strength needed to survive this past year. Take this strength from the past to honor where we are in the present, to believe in What we have to look forward to in the future.

Believe one another, believe in the reality of mental illness. Believe regardless of stereotypes and stigma. Buddha Said, "You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your own love and affection."

Believe in yourself, class of 20/21. Each and every one of you is enough. Each and everyone of you can and will change this world.

Thank you, and congratulations!

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