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Lakewood : Graham Receives Diploma

July 09, 1987

David Graham, the Artesia High School graduate whose diploma was withheld last month because of the content of his commencement speech, has received his diploma in the mail. Principal Joe Quarles, who criticized Graham for misrepresenting the speech in an audition, had withheld the diploma until he could discuss the issue with Graham.

Graham said Tuesday that the diploma arrived in a Manila envelope without an accompanying note, 11 days after the commencement ceremony June 25.

Mara Clisby, special assistant to the superintendent of the ABC Unified School District, said Quarles mailed the diploma after it became apparent that Graham was not willing to discuss the matter. "It was never his intention to withhold the diploma indefinitely," she said, adding that the district did not ask Quarles to mail the diploma.

In his speech, Graham called his fellow students "brain dead," described teachers as incompetent and said young people were being called on to save the world after adults had ruined it.

"I guess they figured they'd held on to it long enough and decided to give up," Graham said. "I'm glad I did this. As far as what happened at graduation, I don't regret a single thing."

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