In the News

Opinion: How could an American high school let misunderstanding and fear triumph over love and freedom at graduation?

May 31, 2018

Mere minutes before Sam Blackledge should have given his valedictory address in front of his loved ones and classmates May 19, the principal of West Prairie High School in Sciota, Illinois took him aside.

Blackledge, 18, was presented with a terrible choice: censor his speech, removing any religious references, or don’t speak at his own graduation. Blackledge earned the right to speak to his classmates as valedictorian. He believes this achievement – his 4.0 GPA – would not have been possible without his faith.

The student told Fox News that he was specifically barred from mentioning Jesus Christ in his speech because “the principal told me it wasn’t appropriate for the setting.”

“The most important thing in my life is Christ,” Blackledge told Fox News. “Christ is the only reason I was a valedictorian. He’s the reason I got that 4.0. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be up there. I was giving him the credit for that.”

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