Rhetorical Analysis: Lift Off

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As Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Donovan Livingston, a graduate at Harvard Graduate School of Education, has similar views on education. His passionate and inspiring speech called “Lift Off” was given at HGSE’s Commencement Ceremony on May 25, 2016. The speech discusses the importance of education as well as the obstacles and injustices students, especially those of color, have experienced throughout history in getting an education. Livingston’s graduating classmates who are becoming teachers, as well as teachers and educators in general, are the audience of his speech. He directly speaks about past teachers and experiences with education he's had, and his hopes for future teachers.
Since this speech went viral and got positive feedback from many, it is effective in reaching the intended audience, and has potential to create a true change in how teachers treat their students and the education system. Livingston presents a call to action for teachers and future teachers to help their students reach their full potential, help them with their obstacles, and foster equality in the classroom.
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Livingston’s words could impact our society’s education system, especially in the way teachers interact with their students. So far, social media has been buzzing with videos of the speech going viral, making news articles, and being shared on YouTube. The video Harvard posted of the speech already has over 12 million views on Facebook. It also received a lot of attention from well known public figures, with Hillary Clinton sharing the speech on her campaign page and Justin Timberlake sharing it on Facebook. As Harvard Graduate School of Education called it “one of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches you will ever hear”, “Lift Off” has the potential to change the lives of future teachers and students
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