School’s first black valedictorian denied chance to give speech, until mayor helps him out

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The first black valedictorian at a Rochester, New York, high school was denied the chance to give his graduation speech by the school's principal.

The city's mayor heard Jaisaan Lovett's plight and stepped in to help the student share his message.

Instead of giving a speech in front of his classmates at University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men on graduation day, Lovett gave spoke in a video shared on the city's website and Mayor Lovely Warren's social media accounts.

Lovett said disagreements with his principal on school policies led to the cancelation of his speech.

Lovett is an intern at city hall. Those connections helped him be heard anyway.

His speech included a message to the principal: "After all these years, all this anger I had towards you and UPrep as a whole, I realized I have to let that go in order to better myself. And I forgive you for everything I held against you."

The school on its Facebook page said the situation was under review by the school board.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.