Photo: Principal of Whittell High School in Nevada Crespin Esquivel gave graduation speech in Spanish and English
“Class of 2011, I want to congratulate you for all your accomplishments this year,” Principal of Whittell High School in Nevada said to his graduating class. He then said it in Spanish as a nice gesture to the Spanish-speaking students and their family members. He went through his whole speech in this manner.
Principal Crespin Esquivel did not expect that repeating his speech in Spanish at a school whose second largest ethnic group is Hispanic would offend one woman enough that she sparked an online controversy.
The woman, who said she sat through both the English and Spanish speeches, wrote a letter to a local newspaper claiming the principal “crossed the line”, “was inappropriate”, and “took away from the recognition the students deserve.”
The debate over the bilingual comments are similar to a story making headlines after U.S. Soccer Team goalie Tim Howard complained that the awards ceremony after his team’s loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Saturday was in Spanish.
“CONCACAF should be ashamed of itself,” Howard told reporters. “I think it was a f*cking disgrace that the entire post-match ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your ass if we were in Mexico City it wouldn’t be all in English.”
As for Principal Esquivel, he stands by his actions, “I figured why not do it in Spanish? I think it’s important for me to make sure all the families feel comfortable.”
“To me we live in America and that’s the beauty of America: that we all bring our backgrounds our cultures our languages and that’s what makes us who we are,” he said. “I’m doing what is right for all my families and I know I’ll take a hit for it, but it won’t stop me from doing what’s right for my families.”