High School Valedictorian Calls Teacher An Alcoholic, Criticizes Staff For Ignoring Her, In Graduation Speech

'To the teacher that was regularly intoxicated during class this year, thank you for using yourself to teach these students about the dangers of alcoholism,' she said.

a black & white photo of a crowd assembled at graduation
McElspeth / Pixabay

'To the teacher that was regularly intoxicated during class this year, thank you for using yourself to teach these students about the dangers of alcoholism,' she said.

A San Diego-area high school valedictorian gave a graduation speech that was anything but the typical graduation speech filled with platitudes about making a difference and changing the world, CBS News reports. Instead, the speaker went “scorched Earth” on several of her teachers and staff of her former school, including publicly calling one former teacher an alcoholic.

Nataly Buhr graduated as valedictorian from San Ysidro High School, despite what she describes as a lack of support from teachers and guidance counselors, and at least one teacher whom she claims showed up to work drunk more than once.

When she gave her speech to the assembled crowd for graduation last week, San Diego’s KFMB-TV reports, she let loose with everything that she’d been holding back for four years.

Her speech started as many such speeches do, with her thanking her teachers and other school staff for their support. However, as the crowd would soon learn, she wasn’t being genuine. She was being genuinely snarky.

For example, she “thanked” her guidance counselor who offered neither guidance nor counsel, according to Nataly, she said, “You were always unavailable. You expressed to me your joy in having one of your students be valedictorian when you had absolutely no role in my achievements.”

She “thanked” the front-office staff for failing to tell her about potential scholarships until the day before the applications were due, potentially costing her thousands of dollars. She “thanked” them for dragging their feet on her work-permit paperwork.

And in one of the most explosive parts of her speech, she “thanked” a teacher who routinely showed up to work hammered. “To the teacher that was regularly intoxicated during class this year, thank you for using yourself to teach these students about the dangers of alcoholism,” she said.

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It bears noting that Nataly didn’t name any names in her speech.

The audience responded to her speech with a mix of shocked gasps followed by roaring applause. What’s more, Buhr has the support of her mom, Monica. “I was proud that she spoke up and got it out,” she said of her daughter.

Nataly is quick to point out that the clips of her speech that are going around on social media don’t tell the whole story. She told a reporter that the first half of her speech was a genuine and earnest speech, specifically thanking those school personnel who actually went above and beyond for her.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Sweetwater Union High School District says it’s “unfortunate” that Nataly’s words are “taking away from the positive.”