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Staples Salutatorian’s Firm Words

Last night’s Staples High School baccalaureate — the ceremonybefore graduation — was wonderful.

The talents of the Class of 2012 were on full display. There were singers, dancers, even a rapper.

Faculty speakers Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito, along withparent speaker Deb Slocum, honored the seniors with wit and warmth.

But the line of the night belonged to salutatorian Carolyn Chen.

Noting that only 2% of the Staples population is Asian, she said that people frequently ask if she’s Chinese.

No, she says.

Well, they reply, you must be Japanese.

No again.

Confused, they ask: Korean?

No, she says for the third time.

Well, what are you? they wonder.

“American,” Carolyn answers firmly.