Valedictorian who delivered speech in Spanish did nothing wrong

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. 


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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


Topics: hispanic children  on parenting  raising bilingual kids