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School to First Black Valedictorian: No Speech for You

So Jaisaan Lovett's speech was posted on YouTube
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2018 2:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Jaisaan Lovett, it seems, is not a young man to be denied. The first black valedictorian at his New York state high school, Lovett gave his graduation speech last month on YouTube after the school principal apparently refused to let him speak at graduation, the Democrat & Chronicle reports. "To Mr. Munno, my principal, there's a whole lot of things I've wanted to say to you for a long time. ... I'm here as the UPrep 2018 valedictorian to tell you that you couldn't break me. I'm still here, and I'm still here strong," Lovett says. "And after all these years, all this anger I've had toward you and UPrep as a whole, I realized I had to let that go in order to better myself. And I forgive you for everything I held against you."

Lovett says he's clashed with Joseph Munno at University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men several times. Once, Lovett spearheaded a week-long student strike when the Rochester school apparently refused to order lab safety equipment. "There’s a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it," says Lovett in his speech. "(Munno) is a guy that doesn’t like to be told 'no.'" Lovett currently interns for Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, who posted his speech on the city's YouTube channel. Munno refused to comment, but the school's board of trustees posted on Facebook that "we are aware of the concern with the Valedictorian not speaking at graduation" and "will be reviewing the circumstances," per CBS News.

(Read more valedictorian stories.)

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