In Jason Reynolds's 2018 commencement speech, it has the sentence "In high school there's a good chance this began with your valedictorian also saying, We made it, then tearing into a borderline roast of certain teachers and administrators..."

What does "your valedictorian also saying" refer to? My teacher claims it implies your valedictorian speech, or is saying the audience are the valedictorians being referred to. I don't think it implies the audience is all valedictorians and is actually referring to the valedictorian speeches given by a separate student at the school they attend.

(Here's the link.)

  • 2
    do you have a link to this speech so that people can see the context of this sentence? Feb 12 at 18:12
  • 2
    Is this really about Literature?
    – CDR
    Feb 12 at 19:55
  • 5
    I’m voting to close this question because it does not seem to relate to literature. Feb 12 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


The quote is referring to the audience members' high school graduation ceremonies, at which the valedictorian likely gave a speech covering stereotypical topics. There is no implication that the listeners themselves were the valedictorians. In fact, it somewhat implies they weren't - the term "your valedictorian" implies that the person you're addressing is not the valedictorian.

The college commencement speaker is referring to what the high school commencement speakers (the valedictorians) did. The "also" here is a bit awkward, but probably refer to the fact that none of the valedictorians were unique in their speech - it's suggesting that the listener's valedictorian, in addition to others, said certain things. Depending on the context, the "also" could refer to other things that were said, rather than the other people that said them.

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