News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Morath Delivers Something Other Than Commencement Speech To Woodrow Wilson Seniors

Dallas School Board member Mike Morath was scheduled to give this year’s graduation speech to Woodrow Wilson seniors. But he offered something a little different.

Morath’s moment at the lectern was captured and posted on YouTube. He talked of low voter turnout in school board elections. Then, offering his own civic democracy lesson,  he polled the class, in their caps and gowns.

“What I figured I would do, is again, when I was in your shoes I wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible. So I’m going to put something to a vote for the Woodrow senior class.  All those in favor of hearing my combined words of wisdom please raise your hand. I think the motion fails, God bless you Woodrow," said Morath, after a minority of students raised their hands. 

And with that, Mike Morath waved and walked away. He heard from some students afterwards.

“A couple of them said ‘I voted for you,’ like they  wanted to hear the rest of the speech. A few said ‘that was pretty cool.’ And that was the gist of it.”

Morath said he had a speech prepared about triumphing over adversity and the need to embrace and learn from life’s failures. But he said the principal had already given a similar speech.  From his introduction to the fading applause after his departure, Morath’s appearance lasted less than three minutes. Did he feel he let anyone down by not speaking?

"Uh, no. I don’t’ think so. I mean people come to a graduation event for the graduation. They want to see their kids walk across the stage, and they did."

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.