High school grad says principal’s graduation speech plagiarized Ashton Kutcher
Graduation speeches are supposed to leave students full of hope and awe for the future. But this speech left one student questioning if it was plagiarized from Ashton Kutcher.
Abby Smith, a graduating student at Parkersburg High School in West Virginia, edited together a video of the speech given by the school’s principal, Ken DeMoss, last week, with the speech Kutcher gave at the 2013 Kid’s Choice Awards.
The similarities are uncanny.
DeMoss opens by telling the students he is going to touch on three points: seizing opportunity, being an intriguing person, and living life. Kutcher’s points are all the same, except his second point deviates slightly: seizing opportunity, being sexy, and living life.
“So first, the opportunity,” principal DeMoss said in the graduation ceremony video. “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was a kid growing up, I didn’t get paid to do chores. I had to do ’em.”
“So first opportunity,” Kutcher says in his speech.”I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13, I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof.”
Both of them go on to talk about jobs they had growing up. Kutcher says “opportunities look a lot like work;” DeMoss says “opportunities look a lot like hard work.”
Both of them make reference to Steve Jobs and they both conclude with “I love you guys.”
Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re delivering the most important speech during a school’s graduation. DeMoss didn’t respond to a CNN request for comment, but he did release a statement to CNN affiliate WTAP.
“It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give a specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech,” his statement said. “I did not get all my ideas from Ashton. Format yes, thoughts and ideas were from my heart.”
DeMoss didn’t say how he came across the actor’s 2013 speech, but a Google search of “best motivational speech for teens” shows a video of Kutcher’s speech second in the list.
“In the future, anything that is spoken by me or any other administrator to the public, if it has been said by anyone else, it will be cited,” his statement continued.
CNN’s Justin Webb contributed to this report.