WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/305082

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Page 62 of 203

You Are Not Special... and Other Encouragements 61 s u m m e r 2 0 1 4 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e E L I Z A B E T H S U N E B Y writer B R I A N S M I T H photographer an interview with david mccullough, jr. what started as a time-honored inspirational speech to graduates, their families, and the faculty and staff of Wellesley High School turned into an improbable worldwide media sensation. Wellesley High's beloved English teacher David McCullough, Jr. delivered the com- mencement address at the school's 2012 graduation ceremonies. To McCullough's amazement, TV networks, magazines, and newspapers from near and far reported on his message and more than two million people viewed his actual address on YouTube. Infinitely more people than those seated in folding chairs on the football-field-turned-graduation-stage heard David McCullough's words of wisdom. After 27 years in the classroom, McCullough took a sabbatical in the 2012-2013 school year to write a book expanding on the messages in his speech. He explained what it was like "writing a sermonizing memoir about the purpose of education and his experience as a father and teacher" to a Boston Globe reporter, stating, "I suddenly empathize with kids having a mountain of homework." While the media spun the "You're not special" refrain from McCullough's commencement address into a reprimand, the title of McCullough's book, You Are Not Special…and Other Encouragements, makes it clear that the refrain was meant to liberate teens from the overbearing societal pressure to be exceptional in everything that they do. McCullough was actually reassur- ing graduates that they all could make their lives matter if they chose to do something useful 060-069_WWMb14_f2f_McCullough_v4_WWM_interview 4/28/14 10:06 AM Page 61

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