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Sayre valedictorian's graduation speech named nation's best

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Saying he gave a "light-hearted ode to his alma mater," Parade magazine named Sayre School valedictorian Benjamin Tucker's graduation speech as the best in the nation.

"We are Sayre. We can be great. We will be great. We have, in reality, spent years training for this moment. Because at the core of greatness lies character. And the great lesson of all the things that Sayre did not do is the lesson of character.," Tucker told his classmates. "We have, day after day, in class, out of class, in our homes been exposed to character. To greatness. And it is now incumbent on us to reflect on those lessons, to recall, one after another, the examples of our parents, teachers, administrators, buttery workers, maintenance staff, brothers and sisters our entire Sayre world, and to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that we too can be professionals in the game of life. The pieces are there. Some assembly required. Give us a little time…and we will do fine."

Readers of the magazine distributed in more than 640 newspapers voted for the best college and high school graduation addresses from videos posted online.

"I'm asking you to make the commitment now to show up at our first reunion. Let's get the band back together at least once, because we are family. We really do love and care about each other," Tucker said is speech. "What we won't care about, shouldn't care about, is what your job title is or how much money you make. That is absolutely irrelevant. What we will care about is what kind of person you have become and the character you display in your daily life."

The winning college commencement speaker was Adam Schultz of University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Tucker, who won an iPad for placing first among high school speakers, DePaul University in Chicago to study filmmaking.

Top 10 high school graduation speakers
1. Benjamin Tucker of Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky
2. Patrick Wille of Peoria Notre Dame High School in Peoria, Illinois
3. Ian Reynolds of Cretin-Derham Hall in Saint Paul, Minnesota
4. Jillian Carney of Winfield High School in Winfield, West Virginia
5. Nick Polakowski of Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights, Michigan
6. Paul Gary of Farragut High School in Farragut, Tennessee
7. Ian Katz of North Atlanta High School in Atlanta, Georgia
8. Brooke Evans of Linganore High School in Frederick, Maryland
9. Madeleine Monfort of Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida
10. Cole Speidel of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, New York

Top 10 college graduation speakers
1. Adam Schults of University of Massachusetts Amherst in Amherst, Massachusetts
2. Mohammed Adawulai of Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts
3. Stephanie Ann Zaner of University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
4. Joseph Sullivan-Springhetti of U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut
5. Meghan Thome in College of DuPage of Glen Ellyn, Illinois
6. Alexander Michael Urban of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas
7. David Boreanaz of Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York
8. S. Epatha Merkerson of Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey
9. Justin Haynes of The Ivymount School in Rockville, Maryland
10. David Langlois and Robert Bowyer of Muskegon Community College in Muskegon, Michigan


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