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Below is the video and transcript of the Coxsackie-Athens HS Class of 2010 valedictory speech

Below is the video and transcript of the Coxsackie-Athens HS Class of 2010 valedictory speech that went viral on the web, thus proclaiming me as the 'valedictorian who spoke out against schooling.'

Here I Stand Erica Goldson June 25, 2010

proclaiming me as the 'valedictorian who spoke out against schooling.' Here I Stand Erica Goldson June

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There is a story of a y oung, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently , how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then

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replied, "Ten y ears." The student then said, "But what if I work very , very hard and really apply my self to learn fast - How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty y ears." "But, if Ireally, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty y ears," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, y ou say it will take me longer. Why do y ou say that?" Replied the Master, "When y ou have one ey e on the goal, y ou only have one ey e on the path." This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education sy stem. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way , we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective. Some of y ou may be thinking, “Well, if y ou pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't y ou learn something? Well, y es, y ou learned something, but not all that y ou could have. Perhaps, y ou only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear y our mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible. I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the sy stem. Y et, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the sy stem set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing ly rics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled

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at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly , now I'm scared. John Tay lor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of y outhfulness – curiosity , adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don't do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt. H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not

to fill the y oung of the species with knowledge and awaken their

Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim

is simply to reduce as many

individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry , to put down dissent and originality . That is its aim in the United States. (Gatto)

To illustrate this idea, doesn't it perturb y ou to learn about the notion of “critical thinking.” Is there really such a thing as “uncritically thinking?” To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth? This was happening to me, and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bry an, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain my self and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is. And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational sy stem that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement.

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We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a sy stem that trains us, rather than inspires us. We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren't we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity , rather than futile activity , for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry - approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still. The saddest part is that the majority of students don't have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 y ears. I can't run away to another country with an education sy stem meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are any thing we want to be - but only if we have an educational sy stem that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation. For those of y ou out there that must continue to sit in desks and y ield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. Y ou still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create y our own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide y ou with intellectual capabilities that allow y ou to expand y our mind instead of directing it. Demand that y ou be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “Y ou have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for y ou. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly , but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades. For those of y ou that work within the sy stem that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. Y ou have the power to change the incompetencies of this sy stem. I know that y ou did not become a teacher or administrator to see y our students bored. Y ou cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell y ou what to teach, how to teach it, and that y ou will be punished if y ou do not comply . Our potential is at stake.

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For those of y ou that are now leaving this establishment, I say , do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after y ou. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly , we will have the power to do any thing, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept any thing at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth. So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by my self. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn't have accomplished this without all of y ou. It was all of y ou who truly made me the person I am today . It was all of y ou who were my competition, y et my backbone. In that way , we are all valedictorians. I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a “see y ou later” when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!

of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so! +150 Recommend this on


Recommend this on Google


enough to do so! +150 Recommend this on Google 143 comments: Venus as a boy June

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Good f or you for speaking t he t ru t h. I'm surprised they let for you for speaking the truth. I'm surprised they let you finish.

he t ru t h. I'm surprised they let you finish. Reply Replies Anonymous December 6,
t h. I'm surprised they let you finish. Reply Replies Anonymous December 6, 2013 at 6:14

Same here!

Excellent! A++ My advice for you is to find that goal the Zen master talked about - Everyday! Finding your goal is not as easy as one may think, due in large part

because we are not trained to think "outside of the box", as you know. Let your

heart decide what you truly want - you may need, nay, you will need to train your

mind (read: Think and Grow Rich - not necessarily to get rich, but to open your understanding mind and to train your sub-conscious what and how to think. Your goal may well be to help the school systems change the way our children are

taught; maybe to have them fully aware of the "real world". I do know that I

wish my kids were more aware, because now that they are in their twenties, they

are wondering what they want to do with their lives. Blessings and Peace and Love and Joy to you and yours.

Oh PS. - Congratulations on your achievements:)

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I t ruly believe and feel t ha t t his speech has just altered my truly believe and feel that this speech has just altered my live in ways that I cannot fathom right now but hope to discover soon. Absolutely amazing!

You have a privileged place on my tumblr blog (escapethamatrix.tumblr.com) I'm with you. Let's create a better system of education, economics, and the rest. Check out this speech by Salman Khan: http://youtu.be/gM95HHI4gLk. Exciting stuff !! ff!!

As an educator, mother, and human being, I thank you for saying the truth. I am

currently working on my doctorate in Educational Leadership, simply for the

paper that says I'm "smart enough" for people to listen to me. I think like you

think and will be vehemently working on creating a better future for future


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Thank you so much - you are brave and wiser than many. I could have spoken these words about my character and accomplishments when I graduated but I

was still busy feeling the only thing important about me was my good-girl test-

taker record. Today after many trials and much suffering I'm a happy person

raising (unschooled) kiddos - kids far more self-validated, intelligent, caring, and

brave than I ever was. When I see young people such as yourself speaking out

this way I feel so excited for the new generation. Wonderful stuff.


watched your video just now and reposted it a few times. CLEARLY TOTALLY

AWESOME ERICA!!! That was great! I'm very happy you spoke truth. You are

truly very smart to speak up to make people aware. Fucking awesome! I went through college working the whole time and taking honors classes and when I got out all that praise didn't mean anything because I suddenly became and indentured servant who had to work off her $30,000 school loans.


have had to work shitty office jobs making advertising propaganda for shitty

money-centered non-humanistic people all so I can just get to what I love which


up so this system gets reorganized. Education should be FREE for anybody who

wants to learn and it should be structured differently to bring out people's real

art. I'm so glad there are people your age smart enough to wake other people

true talents.

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Jennifer S. August 15, 2011 at 8:11 AM When I hear t he quo t

When I hear the quote, "FREEDOM isn't FREE" it kinda makes me wonder


what is it actually? Isn't "freedom" actually a self-defining adjective? This is

like saying "the state of being FREE, COSTS." Well, if something costs, then why

even call it FREE and then tell me it costs?

This is the kind of bullshit that brainwashes stupid people. This is why young people like you are awesome to make people truly realize they are conditioned drones until they wake themselves up with self-honesty like you did.

Anonymous April 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM Jennifer, The phrase "Freedom isn't free" refers to

Jennifer, The phrase "Freedom isn't free" refers to this country and the

"freedoms" we have compaired to other countries that don't have the

privilages we do. And to keep these freedoms from being taken away

from us by other jelous countries, we have to pay a price. The price being

lives lost keeping the ill intentioned parties, be it whole countries or

bands of thugs, at bay and not on our soil. The price can be high at times as it has in the past. Granted, some wars, declaired or undeclaired

(unlawful) are started with ulterior motives by certain powerful

global financiers. But our freedom to live the way we desire is slowly

disentergrating under the current government system which has grown

beyond the powers originally intended by our founding fathers. I'm getting off tract but our freedom does come at a cost.

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feel hope when I read

This speech is simply amazing and wonderful something like this& The most important thing is being grateful for what/who takes us to the point


The most important thing is being grateful for what/who takes us to the point

where we are now

the choice to break free from a system that takes away

from the truth & our potential.


Anonymous July 16, 2013 at 2:36 AM nice font

nice font

Wonderful speech Erica. I have shared it with many of my home educatingBrenda August 17, 2011 at 3:11 PM friends. I have been home educating all of my

friends. I have been home educating all of my children for many years now

because of the horrible condition of the public schools. My children range in age

of 31 down to 13 now.

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I'm just a random guy t ha t you will probably never know nor meet. Your speech was amazing and that you will probably never know nor meet. Your speech was amazing and touching. Thank you.

I always t hough t t he same way as you but you actually had the courage thought the same way as you but you actually had the courage to

speak up. The rules of the system is simple, complied with it and you'll have

security whether it be job/family/area you live in. I used to learn and now I

complied because I couldn't find a job without a title. I will still remain the

slave of this system until the system gives me a title that tells me I'm worthy.

Tell me how everything turns out for you after college.

i found a transcript of your speech last year and posted it on my Notes on

Facebook. i just wanna say thank you for saying what you said. keep doing what

you do.

I herd about our s eech a t t he HS i wen t t o 30 t our s eech at the HS i went to 30 miles west o Alban Im

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graduated but i plan to disrupt next years HS gradution at my HS. Any ideas on how to disrupt a public event?




Nyrere Steven Norfleet September 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM September 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

You are what I expect of the future. You have instilled so much hope in me that

you cannot fathom. Why? because now I know that I am not the only one who

feels as you feel about the realities of our education system. I always felt that

this world did not fit what it is to be normal,especially considering how we all

begin our lives via the education system. It is a flawed construct that must be

completely revised. Erica, you are a hero in my eyes and don't let anyone else tell

you otherwise. You are a true light bringer. Let your illumination shine on all. I honor you and may god bless you.

As a long time middle school wage-slave, I was thrilled to find that your avant-garde English teacher challenged you to question the point of playing the 'grade game' in

garde English teacher challenged you to question the point of playing the 'grade

game' in assembly-line schooling. There is a growing understanding among

educators that students, rather than teachers, are best qualified to determine

what they should study and how. My son is 'unschooled' and it is with great pity

and respect for my students that I continuously redirect learning in my

classroom to critical and constructive thinking and collaboration. You have given

us all hope for a future of free thinking and compassionate friends. Thank you.

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I must say t ha t speech blew me away. A true free thinker. No matter which road that speech blew me away. A true free thinker. No matter which road you take you are a winner.


You had the courage to speak the truth, hats off to you.


Come over to zerohedge.com and join in the worldwide informed. We are the resistance.







brain. The


courage it took to call out the establishment is all that is required to truly


Good luck to you, Stranger in Phoenix

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I have felt the same way since I was a teenager back in the early seventies. I

have tried my whole life to stay far away from the center of the matrix yet

participate and and carry my own weight in society. The main ways that I have

done this is hold tight to my convictions and own my own business. It is

wonderful and hope inspiring to here one as young and smart as you fearlessly

speak the truth. You have shown me that enlightenment is just barely being swept

under the carpet and may come bursting out at any time. As young as you are, you

are light years ahead of Hilary Clinton and I nominate you as her replacement effective immediately. Thank you and all the best to you.

Your speech is a dead-on accurat e assessment of the Amerikan educational te assessment of the Amerikan educational

institution. It is a crying shame that the sheeple have no idea that TPTB has set

the goal of serfdom for all but the elite.











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Thanks for you wonderful and t hough t ful speech! It delivered a little glimmer thoughtful speech! It delivered a little glimmer

of hope on an otherwise stormy day. Good luck on your future endeavors, and keep

on thinking.

May you always keep this flame lit up inside, and may God bless you in many, many ways.

Thank you for being truthful to your essence.

Your eyes are open, you must of Swallowed the Red pill! Welcome to the Matrix! t of Swallowed the Red pill! Welcome to the Matrix!

Question Everything! You will wake some up, but there is a sea of Lost out there

Very good Job on your Speech

though. It is sad to say, you were speaking over their brain washed minds !

I'm sure most that listened to it, didn't get it

wow! erica you totally rock! thanks for telling it exactly as it is, respect, kudos, and yes love for such a spirited, aware speech. great comments too! awesome

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I appreciat e your speech and agree with much of the unrest about the current problems. te your speech and agree with much of the unrest about the current problems.

So I am of an opinion that it is possible to do anything that would help everyone.

But it is not easy and needs to be done in a way everyone can accept and be happy


However, I have heard that those funding acorn or acorn projects have done

rather ill fated projects that have been less than legit. One such example is voter

fraud that was done in town. They were paying people to vote a particular way,

as a quick way to make money. (This was told to me by a trusted friend, and

their word I wouldn't question on such a matter.) So, no I've not first hand but

still. There are things out there that I don't trust about it.

If only I had heard t his speech before spending 23 years in education getting a PhD ! this speech before spending 23 years in education getting a PhD !

Ri ht on Erica! I followed this link from erohed e.com and ained an even

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deeper appreciation for your speech by being able to read it.





It is really rare for those in your age-group to be questioning (openly) what

many of us older Americans have known for years. The fact that you used your

graduation platform to deliver the message and express those thoughts was

really courageous. Kudos.

I hope a fulfilling future unfolds for you, and that you find yourself in an occupation that is enjoyable.

I love you.Anonymous September 18, 2011 at 8:14 PM

thank you for having the courage & insight to speak your words :)

Well said - and brave in so many ways.Anonymous September 18, 2011 at 8:50 PM

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Do not worry about your own missed opportunities. You've awoken in plenty of time to listen, discover and enjoy your passions. Good journey.

You've got big brass ones, my dear! Out standing. The fact that you've figured this tstanding. The fact that you've figured this

out at such a young age, and had the GUTS to say it



I'm 39. I look at most teens these days and I'm convinced we're all doomed. You just made me question that assumption.

You freakin GO girl!


Here's the link to you on ZH: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/student-loans-


Three and a half million monthly readers just saw your speech. Well, so far, 20 thousand. :-)

As an aside, ZH permits an unmoderated discussion, and many posters there are highly disgruntled; please understand that reader comments are sometimes

seem un rovoked or unwarranted and sometimes

vicious in a manner that ma

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there are unserious cruelties just for the sake of a laugh. If somebody calls you

a 'valley girl', brush it off. Or bite them in the neck.



am grateful to zero hedge for our introduction. Hi and thank you for many

things but especially for sharing your gifts. As a father of three, the daily

struggle to awaken my "comatose" children is raging. A light like yours is both

uplifting and reassuring that there can be more than a world of "iPurchase, therefore i am".


time not too distant in the past, I was a valedictorian as well. You've

performed a speech that I've only ruminated about in my head during my younger

times. As you know, being intelligent and young, the world often has a way of

defying logic.


tend to think those who are able see the sea of possibilities standing on the

docks of reality often experience a deep disconnect. The more you understand of

the world, you will see that change happens, much like the sea. To the naked eye

and one sparkling with intensity, it is maddeningly slow. But to the weathered gaze, it is powerful as it is vast.

Here's the thin : for man

there will alwa s be a disconnect

as well there

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should be. As the world shifts in its own reality, so will the ideals of possibilities. The trick is to not become burdened at the perceived gap, but to look

at with hope of what could be. This trick often goes by another name, which is that of patience.




I wish you the best with your future and especially in dancing.

I leave you with this last bit, a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace:


Anonymous September 20, 2011 at 9:00 PM I showed t his speech t o my


showed this speech to my father and all he said was "just another jewish girl

reading a speech written by her father"

I was speechless

Anonymous September 20, 2011 at 9:15 PM I have pos t ed your commen t


have posted your comments on facebook and passed it around to so many of my

friends and family and so too have they. Everyone is inspired by your speech. Many

people seem afraid that our youth have lost their way in this labyrinth of a world

we have created but you give us great hope that some of our youth are in fact

"waking up" to their true potential. There are many of us who support what you

said and we wish you great success and happiness in your future in addition to

what you want for the world around you.

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Brava, brave one! , brave one!

I am so lucky t ha t a friend pos t ed t his enlightened speech on my Facebook that a friend posted this enlightened speech on my Facebook Profile

page! This is the perfect outlook for a young woman or man and gives me a sliver

of hope for mankind. If all young people are thinking you do Erica, and they are

really waking from the slumber of our failing system, the United States will

become a better place to live. The education system may be flawed, but seems to

have taught you very well. Give your parent or parents or whomever raised you

an A++, too. They/him/her probably had a major impact bringing you out of the darkness and into the light, but that one English teacher who you said enlightened

you, give her the credit for the success you're going to certainly find in a social world. I believe when going into college, you'll escape the matrix even more so,

there's a lot more enlightenment in front of you, you're one of the few who have

both eyes open. Use your knowledge for the good of mankind, and I promise, you

can only receive blessings so GIANORMOUS, that you'll constantly be looking for

ways to continue kindness.

Yes! The out h o our th o our

reat NATION IS ALIVE! Beauti ul words


lad !

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We are awake





Ask questions, demand answers! Love it!

Mary G. September 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM I have prin t ed t his


have printed this speech out and saved it to my pc. I want my daughter and son

read these inspiring words sometime in the future when they can comprehend

the full meaning behind this! I was never validictorian nor would I ever have

been because your thoughts have been my thoughts while I was growing up.

However this made me rebellious in my teenage years and didn't want to and was not interested in school anymore. When I dropped out I was on the honor roll my


junior year of high school. What was really a disappointment is when I actually

did put some effort into my work I did fantastic and a teacher actually gave be

a B- and wrote the comment on the top of my paper "Who wrote this???" meaning she

didn't believe I had the potential to write a paper like that myself and I

remember it to this day it was a paper on Beowulf. After such incidents kept my

motivation down I said enough of this. I went and got my GED which I passed

with flying colors just to get out of that wretched enviroment called school! I

praise you for your courage, wisdom and knowledge. Being able to speak your

mind even when you know you will be criticized is one of the hardest things a

person can do! God Bless and I wish you a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment!

You have made a difference in this world!

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I Loved it . Grea t !! Rock on! t. Great!! Rock on!

At the age of 31 I discovered that many of the philosophies that I was taught in

our public schooling system where about creating worker bee's not free thinkers.

It is amazing to me to see a young lady be so aware that she discovered in in half

the time. I have a new saying to tell people now when they ask me what I do, I

can respond, "I'm unschooling myself"

Int erne t helped libera t e me from t he confines of the system ternet helped liberate me from the confines of the system as well.

My father had me online in 1994 when I was 11. By the time I was 16 I had begun learning my interests almost exclusively online in my schools library via the addition of broadband internet.

As a result of skipping my English class for two weeks, to attend films at the

cinema which had greater importance to me, I was let go from the class. I was

re-positioned more appropriately into another English class with a socialist

leaning mentor, who liked to show films in class. I don't ever remember being

consulted about this move, or my parents ever being called by the school.

However I sus ect that somebod worked in m interest to lace me there as

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when I arrived I encountered the privilege to do what I wanted, and to discuss

with other thoughtful learners our interests. Political Economy, Nutrition, IT (web dev and networking) mostly.



I still showed up to my psychology class (the only interesting one I had, thanks

in a large part to the mentor at the front of it), and went to history class once in

a while to debate my teacher on the merits of American Imperialism.

In so doing, I became the only friend of an Iranian boy named Mohammad, who

I am friends with today (even though he was deported to Iran after 9/11)

Mohammad was more studious in class than I, aiming to please his parents who

were more strict than I. Although, he did skip class with me a few times to

learn alongside me in the library, where I could usually be found mon-fri from

9am-6pm, long after everyone else had gone home. Mohammad and I skipped class

one time to attend a lecture at SFU by one of the humanitarian co-ordinators of

Iraq as well.

Maybe Meme November 8, 2011 at 11:51 PM I t was as t hough t

It was as though those learners who couldn't be led with a carrot and stick,

were amalgamated into thus one class. One day I arrived at class, to discover a

film being shown which had a BIG impact on me at the time. It was the Julia

Roberts film about the story of Erin Brockovich, who led and won the largest

class action law suit in American history, for the cover up by PG&E of the cancer

causing chemical contamination of the drinking water of a rural California


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After being graduated without completing 3/4's of my classes by a high school councilor who simply gave me a "standing grant" in the areas I had no completed,

I went onto work in IT while learning on the job, as a courier of organic

groceries where for a year while listening to auido-books and university lectures

from the teaching company. I got into personal development, NLP, and sales at

this time as well. I landed a job a in IT again, while also working as a

commissioned sales person utilizing the skills in interpersonal communications

(NLP) I pulled from the internet. I sold 90% of the dept's software, and was

promoted to sales. There I met the executive assistant to the CEO of the company

who was 4 years older than myself. We began dating, and eventually I adopted

her son, who had significant challenges as a result of abuse they suffered in the


Her son expressed that he was not happy with school. At the time I was living

with the founder of selfdesign.com's son, in his co-operative home he set up when

he was 20. He himself was adopted, and the relationship he had with his father I

modeled whilst contracting with the Self Design program as a means of income

and learning.

I further mentored with the founder from the age of 24-27. We also placed our son in his learning program and I have been home learning with him up and until a few days ago, when he decided to try public school again.

He's now in a happy loving relationship with his mother, curious and motivated and passionate about several interest: marine biology, engineering, acrobatics, etc.

Part of his desire to join, were the new changes to the public system in BC that

we heard about two weeks ago


. ca

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Isaac Asimov, one of my cherished mentors, long ago said this day would come the day when we the entire planet would have their own personal learning


youtube dot com /watch?v=CJAIERgWhZQ

My mentor Joel Bellenson, facebook dot com/equalwatts ) whose company first annotated and sequenced the human genome, pointed out a while ago to me that

personal learning is a phenomena that works well currently for the wealthy. But

also, has found an exponential historical trend in solar power, whereby the price

has been dropping 75% / decade, since ~1940. Extrapolating out, this means the entire

planet will be solar by 2030 and exceeding 400% of our current energy consumption globally. As we sit currently, Moore's law is bringing us computer power doublings every 18 months, and solar cost reduction and growth is pumping right

alongside of it. Africa is being wired, both by wired and wireless internet. A NA

1995 internet moment is beginning on the continent, and soon the globe will be one

machine programmed and operated by US.

youtube dot com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE

wired dot co dot uk/news/archive/2011-11/04/get-rich-move-to-africa

It's an excting time to be alive.

But let us not forget, that the global south/China are still far less developed, and

only by advocating for an Equal Watt's revolution globally, will we provide the

material conditions necessary for global personal learning mediated by internet,

let alone pull the planet out of cyclical generational economic crises and war.

The biggest question I never got a satisfactory answer to in school. Was why did the great depression happen, and could it again?

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I ag ree, wi t h wha t you said gree, with what you said

I didnt get it bu t i t was cool t but it was cool


I hope that you also inspire school administrations to change things for future g enerations :) t you also inspire school administrations to change things for future generations :)

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t he bes t of my public school education, as i remember it, was the the best of my public school education, as i remember it, was the affirmation of

my intermittent dissent by those on the margins of the school (who stood against

the common denominator). for brief moments, i subjectivized and reclaimed my

education as a result of this dialectical movement. what will happen if this vision

materializes or comes to any sort of systemic fruition? will a monolith of open

minded folk stride forth across the earth hand in hand, empowering creativity and

crushing epistemological oppression?

those who are now empowering us (the youth) from the blurred and

disenfranchised margins of the school (like her avant garde teacher) might very

well become the oppressors, forcing themselves and their subjective vision (once

the subjective vision of the underdog, now the objective, common denominator) upon

the youth.

i am a cynic where process is concerned in the application of the principles

necessary for the coming-into-being of this vision, respectfully, erica, although i

i would NOT have had it in me to do

this!!! dissent is potent when it comes from the fringes

do cheer for your brazenness and courage

(like this speech).

when it is institutionalized, standardized, and diffused, i believe it may lose its potency. :)

A holy church, rings, a bouquet , a 3-floor wedding cake, lace wedding dress t, a 3-floor wedding cake, lace wedding dress

champagne, and the moving promise “ I do”, make up the happiest moment in one’s

life. Then it is the weddin .

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A gorgeous wedding dress has been inside a girl’s dream since she was five years

old. It is widely said that the bride is the most beautiful woman all over the

a full-length white wedding dress is always associated with romance and

sanctity. But, with the globalization, wedding dresses tend to be alike in the whole


I just saw this on a friend's facebook page today. Way to go girl! I wish I had

known this before feeling like a giant failure for not wanting to go to college

after high school. Even though I never got a college or university degree my

learning never stopped. I am constantly teaching myself about things that

interest me and now, as a mother, will be homeschooling my daughter.

Erica, I hope one day you come back to this blog to see what seeds have sprouted.

It seems your speech is making some rounds lately, it popped up on my FB feed

so I was inclined to check it out. It reminds me of a farewell speech I made

over the PA on m last senior da thou h I was ust crackin at the surface of

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what was wrong with our system. It'd take me a solid year to figure out the

problem extends to the very root of elementary. I've taken a few years off from

school and I've decided to return to an engineering course of study, though I

dipped my toe in economics with the intention of studying education and history as

well. I realized that I can accomplish that outside of school while learning

engineering, something I'm truly gifted and interested in. I have some projects in

mind and if you ever meander this way I'd love to bounce some ideas off of you.

They're along the lines of economic rejuvenation, fostering creativity, and

networking ideas. It's minds like yours, that have been freed from a contagious

apathy, that are instrumental in steering the direction of our new systems. You

have an invaluable perception. I'll check back.






Thank you SO much for sharing t his wi t h t he world. The education system is in this with the world. The education system is in

MUCH need of transformation, all over North America, and your message is VERY

timely! I am a homeschool mom of four brilliant kids and very, very proud to be!

Your speech was full of wisdom and grace and, well, it took guts girl! You GO! :)


Very well said

become of education. It is a complete misuse of the word!! The word "education"

sooo true. I am angry and annoyed that this is what has

means "to draw out"

on it later. Educators need to seek what is inside of each student and hel them

fill with useless facts and information just to be tested


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use their passion to find meaning in their own lives



that would be nice!!

Wow. Y ou have balls, girl. You have balls, girl.

you speak t he t ru t h! Sadly t he system has nearly destroyed that creative the truth! Sadly the system has nearly destroyed that creative and adventurous mind i hold so dear but I'll be graduating high school in a month and then I can start anew!

Wonderful speech!kacruiser May 2, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Bravo!!!! you go girl!Magenta May 6, 2012 at 8:51 PM

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very true statement about global educational system not only in America but

worldwide. I had exactly the same feeling while leaving the university with a

diploma in my hand.


want to do it anymore because 90% of what I teach is a complete rubish a waste

have become a teacher thanks to my chosen path at the university. Now I don't


time of everybody present.

Wake up people school is not everything, in fact your mind will better of without

the indoctrination of the education system.

We need to know about our heritage as human species, about our place in the

universe not about all the silly wars that we fought between each other.


can only hope that you in all of your insight have continued to learn more of

what matters and have found a path in the ideals of Dr. Paul. If not, well,

"Ideas spread, you can't stop them. An idea whose time has come cannot be

stopped by any army or any government!"~Dr.Paul

Dr. Paul knows of the problems in the education system and believes that the

Department of education is part of the problem. He wants to get rid of the Dept.



them up, if you haven't already.

Ed. and get America's schools back on track.

course there are many other ideas that will help restore America, please look

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Bookmom June 1, 2012 at 6:52 PM You're righ t on t he mark, and

You're right on the mark, and you said it very well. I know it's a year later now.


They are freeform learners who question everything!

couldn't wait for the system to be fixed, so I chose to homeschool my kids.


much money at stake, and the teacher's union really doesn't want it changed.

wish I had the answers for how to reform the education system. There is so

Anonymous June 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM Y es! Perfec t ly said!

Yes! Perfectly said!

Andrew Gatt August 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM I enjoyed your speech. I t hink


enjoyed your speech. I think you might under-value much of what you have

learned during your time at C-A. Yes, some classes surely placed too much

emphasis on memorizing facts that would soon be forgotten, but you could not

have done so well if you hadn't also been able to learn some skills that will be

useful to you later on. I bet you can read a complicated passage and determine

what is truly important. I bet you can look over a classmate's lab report and

figure out where he/she went wrong. I'm sure there are many other skills that you have sharpened during your endless hours at school, but there is one minor

skill that you obviously haven't learned. That skill is the selection of readable fonts. Yes the scri t font looks cute but it is such a chore tr in to read the

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comments that others have left above. Perhaps the school system has failed you

after all




I love this blog! There is alot of useful information online if people take the t of useful information online if people take the

time to search it out. One great site for student loan debt is


"But now I have successfull

shown that I was the best slave. I did what I

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y was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were

reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others

were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though

I never needed it."

You're way to humble. Even though you were a slave, you were still hardworking.

And the other people who didn't work hard in school most likely were goofing off

rather than composing music or learning things on their own. Of course a few

may have done those things, but not many. Better to be a hardworking slave than to

be a lazy freeman.

I found your blog when I was looking for a different sort of information

wonderful collection, but I was very happy and glad to read through your blog.

The information available here is great

lad I found


our website searchin

for shoes.

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This is great information at any given time when the internet is full

of falsehoods. Keep up the task in "Link to another good article from Allen Wright"

and that i can





like totally and agree. And I think that in order to be comfortable with your

style is to wear it more often. So wear your style to the lab on days that you

don't have to do anything bloody, muddy or otherwise gross!


totally loved your awesome speech, I think you are So Right! I was the round

peg that never fit into the square hole at school, no matter how hard they banged away at me. I'm autistic, and my particular place on the spectrum means I'm

high functioning with Asperger's, but that doesn't mean the school was an

environment in which I could ever have excelled. Far from it. I loved learning,

but hated school. If only they had fostered my genuine love of learning and

helped me, rather than try to beat me into the shape they wanted.

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You are an INSPIRATION! I t hank you deeply for your courage to speak out thank you deeply for your courage to speak out

and the beauty with which you did so. I am a mom who unschools her teenage son

and I am so grateful for your speech. It was uplifting and filled me with HOPE!

Thank you!!!

thank u

thank u

I have t o share i t . t hank you! to share it. thank you!

Anyone feels t he irony? the irony?

The rotten education system she condemned was the one that made her capable of

writing this beautiful speech and critical thinking. By the standard of this

'indoctrination' a critical student like her is a valedictorian.

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Reply Replies Douglas Griffin July 15, 2013 at 10:44 PM No irony in my book. Sure,
Reply Replies Douglas Griffin July 15, 2013 at 10:44 PM No irony in my book. Sure,

No irony in my book. Sure, she may have learned some writing skills and

wide vocabulary. But those things on their own don't lead to joy in

success. There are plenty of people out their who have many skills, but

do nothing with them.

They are sad, angry, depressed, hopeless. Why? Possibly, because they

were never challenged or allowed to discover how to find joy in life.

Anyone, at any stage or status of life, can wake up and realize that the state they are in is not the state they want to be in--that they are not

happy. They can realize that they have been led along, instead of receiving guidance and encouragement to chart their own course, to make mistakes

and learn from them, to discover themselves and what drives them and gives them joy.

Education should not be all facts and figures. It should also provide an

individual with a tangible sense of self worth, empowerment, and the

knowledge that they can find joy in anything that they choose to do, and

that those things can make a difference. This was her message.

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thanks for inspiring me :)

Amazing courage! I read t his speech every few months and am continually this speech every few months and am continually

struck by it. I wish I had heard stuff like this when I was having the life

sucked out of me during my "12 year prison sentence" known as public education.

It's funny, I couldn't tell you the topic of any graduation speech I ever

attended, and that includes the rants of several well-known (and highly paid)

personalities, but I'll remember this speech forever. I hope you are doing well

and wish you the best.

Bravo t o You! For being t he valedictorian? No to You! For being the valedictorian? No


indeed make the changes that are necessary!

For being true to who you are! For

standing up for what you believe in! You are 100% correct about the purpose of

I am hoping you will go on to teach this so your generation can

A ver


ood s eech from such a


woman. I am so

lad that the


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school system hasn't deceived everyone of it's students. You mentioned some key

points about (Corporations) (Secretive government) and also the end result of the

public school system to create servants of the system rather than critical and

creative thinkers. I would like to encourage you to learn more about the

(Corpratocracy) by reading a book called (CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN)by John Perkins and about the (secretive government) AKA "One World Government" or "The New World Order" if you Google those you will find tons of evidence. The reason why I tell you this is because it will bring to light the

driving force behind all the things that are happening in the education, financial,

political, medical and even the false religious systems of the world. I would

also like to encourage you to discover the reality of Christian faith in the Bible. I

have been studying it for over 13 years now, and can tell you that most of the

prophesies in it have been fulfilled and only a few left to be fulfilled. Here is a

website of bible related archaeology that proves the Bible is true

wyattmuseum.com and world history also proves that it is accurate to the letter.

The truth in all of this I pray will lead you and others to eternal salvation in

the Kingdom of Heaven, and the fact that the one and only GOD that created all

things Loves You and wants to have a relationship with you now, and in life

everlasting!!! In closing you will find that this world is run by corrupt and


y g






godless men that have no good intent for you or I, their plans are from the enemy

himself, BUT God and His children (believers) win in the end and live forever in

paradise with Him,,,Learn about Gods saving plan for your life in serving Him, and

in the Life to come, and His son JESUS CHRIST that paid the price for our sins

Past Present and future. May God Bless you as you move on in life!!!

Anonymous July 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM

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Thank you for open my mindyou just regain the lost spirit for me. and I'm sure there are so many

you just regain the lost spirit for me. and I'm sure there are so many other out

there get what I've got from your wonderful speech. Thank you

Thank you. You just said every t hing I felt my entire life in school. I was t said everything I felt my entire life in school. I was

fortunate enough to have the teacher you described in 1st and 2nd grade. She

taught us to think, not memorize. By the time I reached high school I could have

taught every class I took. It was the same BS as the year before with a little extra added in and it was disheartening to the point that I gave up. I chose to

take in all of life had to offer those four years instead of mindless memorization

and regurgitation and had the best four years of my life. I am now 40 and regret

not molding to the institutionalization of the education system simply because of

But I

will never regret having truly lived like I never will be able to again. Bless you

for having the guts to stand up and say this. I wish more young people like you would stand for what they believe just as you have called for them to do.

the benefits that would have came along with it (better paying jobs


Let's g o for i t ! go for it!

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Thank you for voicing it ou t for us (or me at least). Till this very day, I'm still t out for us (or me at least). Till this very day, I'm still lost.


JustAnonymous July 16, 2013 at 8:31 AM so you know, someone created













As an educator, I cannot applaud this enough. This is basically what a lot of schools have reduced students to, without even realizing it.

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Please t ell your graphic designer t hat the comments font is very, very difficult

Please tell your graphic designer that the comments font is very, very difficult to read.


definitely agree with the speech to a large extent but not completely. When I

was 15, I had the same thoughts, especially being in IB and having to cram my

high school courses alongside first year university courses, then passing two sets


and pointless. But we're young, and the world is an exciting place. Yes, the world

may put rules around you to try to coop you in, to try to restrain you, so it is our

standardized tests (one provincial and one international). Life felt quite bleak

job to break free of these boundaries. We're all the same on the inside. Don't feel like you're more enlightened than anyone else. You might be the one to put it into words, and it resonated immensely within everybody because it's something we all feel.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that institution does NOT control you life. You

control your life. You may choose to have it clip your wings or you can become a

bystander. Experience the restraint in order to fly out and seek new freedoms.

You're your own person now. The world is a big place, there are lots to see, lots

to experience, and lots to do.

Anonymous July 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM I too am an educa t or and


too am an educator and I couldn't agree more with this speech and assessment

of public school. I do what I can with the students I have to encourage them to

explore and follow their passion rather than be obedient drones. But I hope

everyone understands that it is NOT the teachers union that is promoting the

mindless drivel the teach to the test mentalit the school is about ettin a ob

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perspective. This is coming from the federal governement via corporate giants

who are funding the privitization of public schools. There have always been

teachers whose efforts have been focused on drawing out what is in each child.





We are being forced to test kids to death or get out of the profession. Truly

heartbreaking stuff. I have chosen so far to be the rogue teacher that supports

my students over the system

who knows how long they will let me continue?


I wat ch your speech is grea t , but in indonesia if anyone want to tch your speech is great, but in indonesia if anyone want to speech like that, the teacher will be angry, hihihi, serious. So, I want to know how US student study, I hear in USA people have good education system, really? please answer

Congratulations!! I wish I could leave my thoughts in spanish, but I will try to

express myself in English. I am from Mexico City, I studied for many years and

then my carrer was for Interior Design, all my life have being working with the

airlines, and now that I am 54 I know I could had been a great journalist.



have a son and a daughter, I really believe that all my suffering (

economical) has been because of their expensive schools, I dont understand why

we need to be at school for so many years learning something that we are not

going to use and always talking about world wars. Is enough. Why they dont

teach us: 1. How to love better and . 2 How to save and invest mone and make

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business. 3. Languages 4. Meditation 5. How to be happy 6. Everything brelating to the death . 7. How to eat well , nutrition. etc.


ever I can help to



really agree with everything that in this video its said. Congratulations and if

contact me. my e mail




Inspiring. Impressive. Implementable.

Dear Erica,Rabbi Yonason Goldson August 2, 2013 at 2:44 PM


came across this blog by chance while searching for an old article of my own -

- Goldson is not a common name. As a high school teacher of twenty years, I

wonder if your teachers are as impressed with you as I would be if you were

my student. Clearly, you were fortunate to have a teacher like Donna Bryan who

encouraged you to think critically

sadly, there are too many teachers afraid

being challenged by students who think.

However, do not assume that your years of diligence and discipline were wasted. The best rock musicians were classically trained; the greatest writers and

artists spent years of painstaking effort developing their techniques. Academic disci line is the foundation of authentic intellectual creativit -- the roblem

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comes from never departing from the mundane and reaching for the supernal.




Daniel Patrick Moynahan famously said, "You are entitled to your own opinion; you

are not entitled to your own facts." Nevertheless, most people today place more

values on feelings than on facts. If you can take your talents, your training, and

your inspiration and combine them with vision and determination, you can truly

accomplish all that you hope to achieve.

May you have great success in all your efforts.

Rabbi Yonason Goldson

wonderful speech!!

This f ont sucks ass font sucks ass

I assume t ha t ou are oin t o o into education in order to make that ou are oin to o into education in order to make a chan e?

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Otherwise you are just a critic, yet one who is very poetic due to the very people you are criticizing.






Daniel F.C. October 30, 2013 at 11:18 PM I guess she is jus t calling

I guess she is just calling stuff by its name, and you have to criticize the

current state of things right now cause the US is not doing really good,

not only in education. She doesnt have to become a teacher to make a

change, she already inspired hundreds of people with her words! its up to

the listeners as well and not only up to the speaker to act. Its like this

guy said: hear the truth, from whoever speaks it.

I am from India, in Grade 12! Yeah, your speech fits our education equally well.

It's not just America which is clutched in this dilemma. With what I have seen and people I have met, it's just the whole world.

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I ran across t his online journal by chance while looking for an old article of my this online journal by chance while looking for an old article of my

own - Goldson is not a regular name. As a secondary teacher of twenty years, I

doubt that your educators are as inspired with you as I might be whether you

were my learner. Obviously, you were favored to have an instructor like Donna

Bryan who swayed you to think basically

unfortunately, there are an excessive

amount of educators perplexed being tested by understudies who consider.

his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog,

especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I

am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work

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Thank you so much :)Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 4:12 PM

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This speech is t ruly perfec t . I have always felt that the education system was truly perfect. I have always felt that the education system was

flawed and dismissal. Hopefully, Erica's speech will be able to introduce a new

era where students actually look forward to school, rather than dread coming

into an environment where creativity and individuality are suppressed.

<<< What a nice post it is! It is helpful for all. You can get help here. If you get more information about Dating Software Blog

It is more import an t t ha t you love what you do rather than to do tant that you love what you do rather than to do what you love to do.

You are what you think you are. If you think you are a slave, you are that.

Perfection in action calls for doing what you are supposed to do ( what your

heart tells you to do) and then do not bother about the results. Be rest in peace.

You must find the peace ion the battle field of life.

What the Zen Master referred is that you can not attain Zen by just hard work only

and working like a slave. You must perform work with love, with out selfishness


and with out sense that "I am doin

the work". To find the Zen

ou will


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100 % effort ( that will be equal to 25% of the total work ) your Master will put in 25


, y



% of the work and God's Grace will do the rest of 50% of the work. It is to prove

to you that you will not attain by your efforts ONLY, that the Zen Master has told

that story.

Best wishes,

Teci Pulido October 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM Powerful speech, and how t imely t

Powerful speech, and how timely to read it on World Teachers' Day. :) I've been

teaching undergrad physics to engineers for five years and counting. The

coursework is rigid in content and in execution, but there's still enough room to

inspire students: encouraging alternative solutions to a problem, reminding why

they need this for their work in the future, showing fun applications and even

analogies to current events or life in general. Teachers need to remind the class

*why* something needs to be learned, so we ourselves need to be convinced of the

significance of each topic. Every now and then we have "joke time" to keep things

light, and I always start the class by writing a verse from the Bible.

I've always been an outlier, anti-establishment student, so now I am working

*against* the flaws of the system but working from within. I'm happy to say that

many students respond to my approach without compromising the standards of

the school (and ultimately the companies who will hire them).

Of course, the issue of which subjects to teach would be up to the schools and

local government. And parents/families should also reclaim their responsibility

as the primary educators and role models of their children.

Thank you for this video. God bless and be with you more!

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thank you , really I appreciate your brave attitude . It`s essential problem which must be solved . I have faced the same when I was studying at collage .

Dear Erica,

U know, I will graduate in about 2 weeks and now that it is over I feel the same

way u did with respect to the fact that the past is long gone. I wasted a lot of

my fucking time and mind in stupid prerequisites to go into the faculty of

business. Thank god I am not you and I did like shit in said prerequisites so I

did not get in. I instead had to go with my original plan, go study economics!! that

subject I always felt attracted to. Yeah I do like econ, but I enjoy history more

than economics, and cooking and music and fucking fancy photographs (tho I cant

take a decent one). I noticed that almost at the end of my degree and it was a

little late for me, tho I made my last months worth a lot. Well, if you did go to

university you should be close to getting your certificate of 'fit for employment',

well good luck with that shit b/c in this economy you cannot even get a decent job,

the system you criticized is not even able to enslave us fucking decently. You

know, I was gonna give u some advice for the remainder of your schooling period,

but what can I tell to the girl that when finished high school came to the same

realizations I came to when finishing college?? (and worded them way better),

maybe just this: fucking enjoy your last years of schooling, it is the last time in

time when LEARNING is so constant (tho sometimes oull be learnin shit) and

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truly last year of college is pretty damn good.



ps: change your font for god's sake, you can barely read the comments!

best wishes,


ape kek kenen coment2 ni