Bales gave his speech outside with a megaphone

Christian Bales, valedictorian of Holy Cross High School in Kentucky, planned to give a graduation speech on May 25. He wanted to speak about the power which young voices possess. The valedictorian was stopped from giving his speech after church leaders opined that the text was not consistent with Catholic church teachings. Bales took the only action he thought was possible: he went outside the academic building post-ceremony and gave his speech via megaphone.

Bales' speech repeatedly referenced the phrase "the young people will win." The sentence is not an original one. It was coined by students who survived a horrific mass shooting earlier in 2018.

In defense, the spokesperson of the diocese said that representatives along with school officials of Diocese of Covington have the right to first review and then approve all student speeches scheduled during high school graduation ceremonies. The spokesperson added that Bales’ graduation ceremony speech was not submitted prior for the purpose of review before the deadline. The diocese said the speech was discovered to contain elements which were political in nature and also inconsistent with Catholic church teachings.

Other than Bales, Katherine Frantz, the President of the Student Council, was also banned from the Kentucky school from giving any graduation speech during the ceremony. Bales, who is 18 years old, suggested the decision of the diocese could have been made beforehand as both he and Frantz were known to be upfront on various social issues. He told a media company that Frantz is his best friend and they both strongly advocated social reform in the community, which put both in the diocese crosshairs.

Bales, who is openly gay, plans to attend the University of Louisville as as a biology major on academic scholarship.

The school's decision has hit Gillian Marksberry, Bales' mother, hard. She said she found this decision a shocking one. She claimed to be extremely emotional that Bales’ was not allowed to give his speech. However, Marksberry said they are not vindictive and have no wish to be so. She said her son has the right to his voice. Bales said in his speech during his school years, he had learned to use his voice to push for his beliefs as befits an ethical individual.

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