Education A National Roundup

Florida Principal Apologizes For Plagiarizing in Speeches

By Jessica L. Tonn — June 14, 2005 1 min read

A high school principal in Brooksville, Fla., has apologized for plagiarizing material she delivered at the school’s past two commencement ceremonies.

During a May 26 speech, Susan Duval, the principal of the 2,000-student Springstead High School, included large passages from a 1997 Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich without citing the author. The speech has been popularized over the years, notable for its first bit of advice: “wear sunscreen.”

After an anonymous letter-writer revealed the speech’s source to the St. Petersburg Times, Ms. Duval wrote a June 7 letter to the editor admitting that she had borrowed material without attribution for her 2004 address as well.

In the letter, Ms. Duval said that she was “truly embarrassed and sorry” and was “ready to accept any consequences that the superintendent and school board might deem appropriate for my unintentional errors.”