SACRAMENTO, CA – On Friday, people from all over the community flocked to see the top ranked student at La Cacatudae High School in Aves, CA add another feather to his cap by delivering the ceremony's commencement speech. For the valedictorian of this year’s graduating class wasn’t the most ambitious kid with the highest GPA, but a very talented and popular parrot named Bud. And yes, he did more than just wing it.
Bud, an outgoing and friendly blue and yellow Macaw, managed to claw his way to the top of the pecking order not only with a perfect GPA, but outstanding citizenship, and an exemplary record of community service helping to entertain children with special needs. And although there were a few students who had higher overall grade point averages, no one displayed as much school spirit or unflappable determination. So, you could say Bud beat the competition by a nose, or as they say in the aviary, by the beak.
Principal Monica Edwards praised the vividly colored bird for raising the bar and setting an example for other students to follow. “Bud was a model student during the fours years he was with us, and his achievements should be an inspiration to all students who want to excel in school”, she said. However, she did admit, “though it certainly didn’t hurt that his plumage matched our school colors.”
Teachers at La Cacatudae concurred that Bud was a very apt pupil, who always stood up straight on his perch, listened attentively, and only occasionally interrupted the lesson to clean himself.
“Bud was by far the best student I’ve ever had”, said Ms. Anne Colby, who teaches 12th grade English. “He never argued, or made excuses, and he could repeat everything I taught him verbatim. He was what teachers dream about when imagining the perfect student, and all I had to do was periodically feed him grapes and walnuts”, she continued.
Dr. William Harbaugh, superintendent of schools, pointed out that Bud also scored very well on standardized tests, with the help of his human assistant to shade in the bubbles of course. “Bud proved that standards-based education reform, and its emphasis on rote memorization, works in raising test scores and academic achievement”, Dr. Harbaugh said in a statement.
In other words, good parroting works.
So, how did this psittacine from South America come to be the new poster boy for No Child Left Behind? His owner, Robert White, says that after finding him in a pet store several years ago, he brought him home, and he immediately bonded with his son Zach, who was by then getting ready to attend high school as a freshman. “Initially, the idea was for Zach to take him to school during show and tell, but everyone loved him so much, he quickly became a kind of mascot. The rest, as they say, is history”, he said.
Asked if he was jealous that a pet got better grades in school, Zach admitted that it was kind of weird, but ultimately not surprising. “Bud was always better than me at doing what he was told. I’ve always been kind of rebellious with an independent streak. Bud’s not like that. He’ll say anything you want if you dangle a carrot in front of him. But, you know, it’s cool. He worked hard and deserves it”, Zach stated as he congratulated Bud with a bowl of mixed nuts. “Although, sometimes I tease him and call him a bird brain, but he hates that”, he added giving us a demonstration.
Future plans for Bud include attending university in the fall on scholarship. “He’ll make a great academic someday”, Mr. White observed. “He’s a natural at just regurgitating what others have said. Come to think of it, he’d also make a great broadcast journalist”, he mused.
But first, Bud gets to travel back to his home country of Brazil as a graduation gift. “We’ll give him a chance to sow his wild oats”, Mr. White added. “Hopefully, he won’t get into too much trouble with the female Macaws down there. I hear they’re quite beautiful… or, so a little bird told me”, he continued.