- Kenny Morales, a former student at Grand Island Senior High, used ChatGPT to write a graduation speech.
- The school approved the AI speech, but Morales ended up going off script.
- The speech he gave was critical of the high school’s culture and administration.
Add speech writing to the long list of things that ChatGPT can do.
Kenny Morales, a former student at Grand Island Senior High School in Nebraska, used OpenAI’s conversational chatbot to produce a speech for his high school graduation ceremony, the Grand Island Independent first reported.
“I said give me a speech about gratitude, and I gave specific examples about what I wanted it to include,” Morales told Nebraska TV News about the prompt he used.
The speech got the okay from Morales’ school. But when he got on stage, he gave a completely different speech that wasn’t approved — and caught the school by surprise.
“I don’t know about y’all, but I hated school,” Morales said to the audience, according to a transcript of Morales’ speech the Independent reviewed.
He continued on, discussing issues he has with the school’s culture and blaming the school district’s administrators for making decisions with no transparency, according to the Independent.
“We lie, we pretend and we hide the truth with selective facts on positive things occurring around the school, instead of being honest and addressing the issues head on,” Morales continued, per the Independent. “We attempt to fix the issue by pulling them like weeds instead of fixing the underlying issue.”
“I really don’t think I was too critical,” Morales told the Independent.
The speech, he told the outlet, wasn’t meant to shame the school, but to encourage the school’s leaders to make better choices.
“It was more about that message (of raising expectations),” Morales said to the Independent. “I just wanted to start a conversation.”
Morales said he knew the speech he wanted to recite wouldn’t get approved, so he used ChatGPT to make one that would. Insider could not reach Morales through email, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
—NTV News (@NTVNEWS) May 17, 2023
The ChatGPT-written speech comes as students flock to the chatbot to generate ideas for class assignments, write essays, and — yes — cheat.
While tools like GPTZero have emerged to detect AI-generated content in schools, Grand Island Public Schools has no regulation on how its students and teachers use ChatGPT, Mitchell Roush, the director of communications for the district, told Insider.
Roush explained the speech selection process to Insider.
First, a group of high school staff members review the submitted speeches and “score them blindly.” Then, the school district’s executive principal looks at the scores and makes the final decision.
From there, the student selected collaborates with the principal to “refine their message” and “make sure they feel confident” in what they say, Roush said. After the principal gives the speech one last review, the speaker is approved to make the speech at graduation.
Hank McFarland, the president of the school district’s board of education, was not happy with the outcome, according to a statement reviewed by the Independent.
While he said that the school administration has “already been discussing” issues around discipline and class attendance, and that the school will start “making adjustments,” he added that doesn’t mean students should say whatever they want when they’re at the podium, the Independent reported.
“Short story made long — does the student have valid concerns? Yes,” McFarland said, per the outlet. “Was the way he did it correct? No.”
McFarland declined Insider’s immediate request for comment.