Valedictorian goes off-script at graduation

Zaineh Saleh

Crimson Chronicle Reporter

Hollywood High valedictorian Axel Brito, took a stand against Los Angeles Board of Education members during his speech at the Hollywood Bowl, calling out members Nick Melvoin, Mónica García, Tanya Ortiz-Franklin and Kelly Gonez. 

According to senior students, Brito used an alternative speech at graduation from the one he originally submitted and rehearsed. A valedictorian speech is usually approved by both the principal and the assistant principal.

Brito held Nick Melvoin (board member for the Hollywood area) accountable for the “abuse” of his position as Melvoin sat on the stage. “He is not the man of the people; he is merely a puppet for those who put him into power,” he said. “Look no further than in 2019 when he provided confidential information to the California Charter School Association.”

 Brito condemned the school’s motto “achieve the honorable,” as he claimed that grades are artificially inflated;  administrators encourage students to lie about volunteer hours; the security system is poor; and parents had not been immediately informed during dangerous events.

“Our students don’t know what failure is because the district and schools themselves will not allow it as they pass extensions and recovery classes time after time,” said Brito.

Halfway through his speech, his mic was silenced, and the crowd started chanting “Let him speak” which led to it being turned back on.

“This is only the beginning of a rough uphill battle that our district has left us unprepared for. Take a stance, start now, and fight back against the system that has left us to rot and fester,” he said. “Destabilize the status quo.”

Brito’s speech gained the attention of various social media platforms including YouTube, Tiktok, Instagram, and even a Medium article. A YouTube video posted by Kyomi Violet gained over 15,000 views.

“Very powerful! Thank you for this brave speech,” said Omar Dahi in a comment. 

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