Jaisaan Lovett, a student at University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men is the first African American Valedictorian in the history of the school, was denied the opportunity to deliver the Valedictorian Speech to his graduating class of 2018 by school principal Joseph Munno.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren found out about what happened ( Lovett is also an intern in Mayor Warren’s office) and stepped in to provide a platform at City Hall for the Student to deliver his speech that was recorded and placed on the City of Rochester’s You-tube channel that gained over 120,000 views in the first two days.
According to an article in USA Today Lovett and principal Munno have had several run-ins over the course of his high-school career that surround Lovett’s activism, standing up for student rights.
Mayor warren upon introducing Lovett for his speech scolded principal Munno for trying to silence the bright young student. “Jaisaan will never graduate from high school again,” she said. “He will never get that moment back. This is not the time to punish a child because you may not like what he has to say.”
In his speech Lovett delivered thanks to his family friends and teachers and also addressed the principal. “To Mr. Munno, I’m here as the U Prep 2018 valedictorian to tell you that you couldn’t break me. I’m still here, and I’m still here strong,” he said. Lovett received a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University and plans to study video game design .