Fresh Dirt: Graduation speeches are sometimes difficult to get through, so it’s always a breath of fresh air when the speaker tries to do something different.
Take, for example, Max Paradise—an 18-year-old high school senior who recently gave the commencement address at his graduation from Cypress Charter School in Santa Cruz. Paradise decided that he wanted to use "My Little Pony,” a relatively new television show on Cartoon Network that has garnered what Paradise calls “a huge cult following,” as a metaphor for the teachers and administration that were a part of his schooling. “Last year one of my friends at the school gave a speech where he gave an extended metaphor comparing elements of the school to certain portions of Lord of the Rings,” Paradise says. “I wanted to do something similar to that, and some of my friends suggested I do something completely ridiculous, like the characters from ‘My Little Pony.’ So I decided to take that idea and really run with it.”
And run with it he did. Paradise compares himself to the character “Twillight Sparkle” in the speech, explaining that both he and the pony were searching for “friendship in a new place”—for Paradise, this was due greatly to the fact that he originally attended school on the Westside of Santa Cruz. He goes on to compare his principal to “Princess Celestia” and one of his teachers, Ms. Spike, to “a baby dragon.” Paradise uploaded the video, which was filmed by his parents, on to YouTube that same day, June 10, where it has since garnered more than 6,000 views—something Paradise did not expect at all.
“When I wrote it originally I figured that my friends would probably laugh at it, and the rest of the school would just be kind of bored by it. …But afterwards people said the really enjoyed it,” Paradise says. “I was even more surprised when I posted it on YouTube, because it was being so well received. People really thought I had guts going up there and giving that speech.”
Paradise is attending CSU Humboldt in the fall, where he plans to study psychology. He hopes to eventually become a public defender—and if his high school graduation speech is any indication of his abilities, speaking before a court room shouldn’t be a problem.
written by Terrence Gargiulo, June 17, 2011
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