Last week, I posted about how 5th grader Zachary Golob-Drake was planning to give a speech that could’ve earned him a spot as one of the representatives to the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech contest… unfortunately, the assistant principal at USF/Patel Partnership Elementary School (in Tampa, Florida) told him he would have to rewrite his speech or drop out of the contest altogether. The reason? His speech was all about the harms of religious extremism and how the Golden Rule should prevail… and it was deemed too inappropriate:
School District Spokeswoman Tanya Arja said school officials told her that the controversy wasn’t about the religious aspect.
“The concern was over the topic of mass murders,” Arja said. “Because these are 4th and 5th graders.”
Zachary made a point of saying that mass murder was wrong, but let’s be honest: He was just talking about world history. Religion has contributed to those mass murders. Why hide the fact? (You can read the speech for yourself to see how “offensive” it really isn’t.)
There’s finally some good news: Zachary was allowed to compete with his speech and he won!
On Monday, he delivered that speech again and was chosen to represent the entire 5th grade at the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech Contest.
“I was so nervous,” he said after receiving another blue ribbon and gold medal. “I’m so happy and excited.”
She said four students left the room during her son’s speech. And three students left during a speech about [Nicki Minaj].
“It’s kind of funny that three of the four students who left during Zachary’s speech had already heard the speech last week during the class presentation,” she said.
In short, kids will walk out of anything. Whatever.
Good for Zachary for not backing down. He wrote a good speech, he delivered a good speech, and now he can take it to the next level.