If you know anything about me, you know I'm all for bilingualism. In fact, I just finished writing my first book titled Bilingual is Better, which will be out in September. I value being bilingual so much that my husband and I speak to our children only in Spanish. My daughter learned English in preschool and the same will be true for my son who starts preK in August. So, I was delighted when I heard about Saul Tello Jr., a high school valedictorian from California who delivered his speech in Spanish after getting approval from the principal.

Tello said he wanted to do it in Spanish so that his parents, whom he considers instrumental in his success, would understand. The translation of the speech is sure to make you cry. 

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Mom gets arrested for cheering during daughter's graduation. Really?! (VIDEO)

I think the whole controversy that has ensued after news broke out that Tello had done this is ridiculous and shows just how narrow-minded America really is when it comes to bilingualism. And while I applaud Tello's move, I think it would've been much better if he  had delivered his speech in both Spanish and English.

Apparently, Tello did originally plan on doing it in both languages, but was told he had to choose one because of time limitations, so he chose Spanish to honor his parents. I'm in awe of this teen who values his parents so much as to honor them by making sure they understood what he was saying on one of the most important days of his life. (By the way, Tello is Orestimba High School's first Latino valedictorian!).

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The principal; however, should've figured out a way to give him enough time to deliver his speech in both languages to make sure every single person at the ceremony understood what he was saying. Aware of their mistake, the school now plans to include inserts of the speech in both languages for future graduations. 

What do you think about Tello delivering his valedictorian speech in Spanish? Leave us a comment with your opinion.

Image via Jim, the Photographer/flickr

 

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a first-grader and a preschooler. She loves languages, traveling and good food – especially if it's cooked by someone else.

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I wholeheartedly support being bilingual, honoring your parents, etc. What I have a problem with is my tax dollars being used to teach children to speak English in the U.S. when their parents already speak it. My youngest son had to be put in a kindergarten class with a teacher with who we had a previous conflict regarding an older son simply because she was the only non-bilingual teacher at the school. Most of the kids in the bilingual classes had english speaking parents.
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I admire this teen and applaud him!! I dislike people that say they are Latin and don't teach it to their kids! Shame on them! Sometimes the parents themselves can't understand their own kids!
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