TODAY | June 10, 2012
>>> go to most graduations, and you'll hear the commencement speaker talk about how each student is wonderful and unique. well, one high school graduating class in massachusetts got a very different message, and a lot of people are applauding the speaker for saying it. here's nbc's michelle franzen .
>> reporter: graduation season, a time of celebration and speeches, praising students for a job well done.
>> you and your families have done to earn today's celebration.
>> reporter: along with uplifting words of advice.
>> surround yourself with people who are going to fill your cup until your cup runneth over.
>> reporter: but this year, one boston area high school teacher has put a sobering spin on his commencement speech .
>> none of you is special. you're not special. you're not exceptional.
>> reporter: the brutal truth, david mccollough jr. says is backed up by tradition and fact.
>> across the country, no fewer than 2.3 million seniors are graduating right now from more than 37,000 high schools .
>> reporter: the wellesley high school english teacher downplaying this rite of passage , he says, to prove a point.
>> we have of late, we americans, to our detriment come to love accolades more than genuine achievement the the relevant life is an achievement. not something that falls into your lap because you're a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.
>> reporter: his words were hailed online with comments calling it best commencement speech ever. and another calling him my new hero. a stand-out speech that in the end put a new twist on an old theme.
>> dream big . work hard. think for yourself. love everything you love, everyone you love with all your might.
>> reporter: for "today," michelle franzen , nbc