Monday, June 29, 2015

[UPDATE TO THE UPDATE] From Andrew Marra—"West Boca principal’s speech to grads: poignant but plagiarized"

[UPDATE: Sonja Isger has an update on this story. UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: The Post had another article about this in Sunday's paper (6/28) titled "Principal’s plagiarism soars over bar set by local teachers". The original post on this blog about the article by Andrew Marra follows:]

This article by Andrew Marra delves nicely with another recent case of plagiarism. The Boca Raton Tribune plagiarized FAU editor Emily Bloch and she, well, got really really really pissed off. You can read about that here. Ms. Bloch makes the point of what would happen to her academic career if she got caught stealing. Here is what she had to say:
Andrew Marra at The Palm Beach Post has this article about a commencement speech that was too similar to another famous speech given a few years ago that went viral. Here's an excerpt from Marra's article:
     Citing Sophocles and Henry David Thoreau, the principal of West Boca High School regaled hundreds of graduating seniors and parents last month with a stirring commencement speech [emphasis added], calling on them to “resist the easy comforts of complacency” and “be worthy of your advantages.”
     What Principal Mark Stenner didn’t tell them: He had plagiarized almost the entire seven-minute performance from a well-publicized commencement address, one written three years earlier by an English teacher in Massachusetts.
[and. . .]
     A video of it reveals it is almost identical to the popular commencement delivered by David McCullough Jr., a Massachusetts English teacher and the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough.
     McCullough’s 2012 speech, in which he told students they were “not special” and that “it’s where you go from here that matters,” gained national media attention and acclaim for its straight talk. It drew millions of views on YouTube and led to a book deal.
Here is the speech that the principal of West Boca High was so impressed with:

If you are interested, you can read the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics here.