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Valedictorian at San Diego school rails against teachers, staff in epic graduation speech

Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

On graduation day, Nataly Buhr delivered a valedictorian speech straight out of a high school movie.

The teenager stood on June 6 in front of 500 classmates at San Ysidro High School in San Diego, their loved ones, teachers, staff and administrators. With such an audience, the possibilities of what could come out of Buhr's mouth seemed endless.

Of course, a betting person would likely have put money on your typical farewell to high school and all the trials and triumphs that come with that great, teeming theater of teenage life. And that's how Buhr started.

She thanked her family and favorite teachers for helping her make it through the jungle that is high school.

Then the teenager turned her speech into a roast.

"To my counselor, thanks for teaching me to fend for myself," Buhr said, hardly changing her tone of voice. "You were always unavailable to my parents and I, despite appointments. Only in these past few weeks, with the awards ceremonies and graduation coming up, did you begin making your appearance."


"Might I note," she continued, "you expressed to me your joy in knowing that one of your students was valedictorian when you had absolutely no role in my achievements."

Her peers looked ruffled and confused, looking around at each other with jaws dropped. Was this really happening? Was the straight-A student really kicking butt and taking names?

Buhr wasn't done. She went after office staff, who she said taught her to be resourceful with their "negligence." She claimed they failed to inform her of scholarships until a day before they were due, and that school staff made it difficult for her to obtain a work permit despite her taking all the right steps.

Then Buhr ended by dropping her biggest verbal bomb.


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