Harvard Student’s Incredibly Emotional Graduation Speech Has Gone Viral


A Harvard graduate’s inspiring commencement speech has gone viral after being called ‘one of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches’ by the University.

Master’s graduate Donovan Livingston performed his spoken word poem titled Lift Off for the Harvard Graduate School of Education student speech, reports The Independent.

His incredible poem tackles the history of racism in education and encourages the next generation of teachers to recognise the potential in every one of their students.

One of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches you will ever hear! Thank you Ed.M. candidate Donovan Livingston…

Posted by Harvard Graduate School of Education on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

He begins with a quote from Horace Mann – a politician and educational reformer: 

Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equaliser of the conditions of men.

He goes on to point out how African Americans were persecuted for learning to read and write during Mann’s lifetime, saying:

For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.

Horace Mann/Wikimedia

He then speaks about his own personal experience in education – with a verse of the poem dedicated to his 7th grade teacher, Ms Parker, who was obviously a source of inspiration to Donovan.

He wrote:

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me: “Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”

And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice. She gave me a stage. A platform.


He finishes up by reflecting on what he believes is the true role of teachers:

Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness. For generations to come. No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning. Lift off.

Looks like he’s going to have queues round the block signing up for his classes…