Lancaster County principal suspended for plagiarizing commencement speech

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Garden Spot High School principal Matt Sanger has been suspended without pay for 10-days after plagiarizing his commencement speech to graduating students Friday at the school in New Holland, Lancaster County. Graduating seniors heard Sanger give a speech that borrowed heavily from a graduation speech given by late author David Foster Wallace in 2005.

To some New Holland residents, Sanger’s speech wouldn’t go over well if they were seniors. “As a student, I would love for my principal to say something that he wrote, something from his heart, something he means,” resident Lisa Hurst said.

During a phone interview, Sanger said that he’s done his best to own up to his mistake, but acknowledges we are all human and said the kids did deserve better. Gary Grieve-Carlson is an English professor at Lebanon Valley College and has been teaching for over two decades and feels that this damaged Sanger’s reputation, but did not destroy it.

“It doesn’t happen overnight; you don’t snap your fingers and get your credibility back,” Grieve-Carlson said. “I think his owning up to it was enormously helpful and important and I give him definite credit for that.” Since the speech, Robert Hollister, Eastern Lancaster County School District Superintendent, has received countless support for Sanger, but recognizes that Sanger made a mistake.


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