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Ben Affleck's Commencement Speech

Ben Affleck's Commencement Speech

Ben Affleck shared pearls of wisdom to students on Friday at the graduation of Washington DC’s Falls Church High School, where Affleck was the Commencement Speaker.

Affleck praised 19-year-old Joe Kindregan, a disabled student he met in 1998 on the set of Forces of Nature. Since then, the two built a close friendship. Kindregan invited him onto the stage saying, “He is married to the cutest girl (actress Jennifer Garner) … but most important he is the best friend you could ever have.” Affleck turned to the teen and said, “You’re right about my wife” (she sat front and center during the ceremony).

On his friendship with Kindregan: “I’m here because what I learned about the distance between how you see someone and who they are, I didn’t learn in Hollywood, I learned from a classmate of yours, my friend, Joe Kindregan.”

On his incredible acting abilities: “I haven’t been in space, I’m not a politician, I’m not a super hero – I’m not even a gangster. I’ve only pretended to be all of those – in some cases just barely.”

On believing in yourself: “What others say about you means nothing. What you say about you means everything. Your job is to make other people see you as you are.”

On not having any more degrees than anyone else in the room: “We will be tied,” he said. “I’m sure many of you could teach me quite a bit. In fact, I’m sure many of you could school me on that Smarter than a Fifth Grader Show.

You can watch Affleck‘s whole graduation speech here.

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Photos: Splash News Online/Colin Drummond
Posted to: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner

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  • malibumom

    Ben is awesome-won’t live in hollywood 4 ever-loves savannah

  • zowlan

    graduations are way over-raded, I hated mines,where i lived it was like a competition among parents,my mother for one would be like how come u didn’t get the math or english award, or the school leadership award, ignoring the fact that i was graduating, sick,and another thing alot of ppl buy into those television theme graduations we’d see on Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson’s Creek, its not like that in real life, graduation don’t usually take place outside, or neither are they fun as they are portrayed

  • No

    Zowlan, you set yourself up. Hmmmmm, well, anyway too easy that. Could Jennifer Garner have worn anything uglier?

  • BEN& someone anyone else

    If only someone else actractive was with BEN.The poor 19 year old didnt want to say youre married to the homeliest woman so he was kind and gave her the courtesy of cute and so did Ben, there kind, to Mommie Wierdest ,,I mean Mommie Perfect,,the new tv show, publicity seeking, for herself and genius has been tv whats her name.Ben loosing his livelihood becuz of whats her name.

  • filipino fan

    that is very commendable of ben affleck, telling everyone that he learned a lot from joe kindregan, a student with disability. kudos too to mr. kindregan , for not letting his disability stop him from becoming a productive citizen of his country.

  • magnolia

    WOW, I really loved his speech, is was so inspiring, and Joe was eqaully inspiring. Its so easy to let the tough times get you down but its role models like this that keep me going!
    you could tell this was difficult for BEN, he was really nervous,

  • magnolia

    His wife is very pretty and down to earth, she dosen’t even wear make up. He really hit the jack pot with her and he seems to know it

  • A Person

    I love Ben

    He did seem a bit nervous but the speech was nice.

    good for Ben for maintaining a relationship with Joe and for Joe maintaining a relationship with Ben.

  • kip

    He is trying so hard to show people he has substance.

  • alexie

    Substance? Jessica Alba has substance? Fantastic 4 has substance? Tom Cruise has substance? Scarlett Johansson has substance? Hugh Grant has substance? I can name a lot who has no substance. So stop picking at Ben Affleck. He has substance. You were just blinded by the media as most people are – you succumbed to the mass mentality.

  • jen

    Ben is awesome! his speech was very inspiring.

  • Didi

    ben affleck is the worst actor in the world

  • Hanna

    Ben’s speech was amazing.

    It is truly worth listening to.

    People should really listen to what Ben is saying in this speech. Ben’s friendship with Joe is inspiring and deserves to stand on it’s on with out all this hating on Jen.

    It’s great to actually see a story like this in the on a site like this.

  • Susiq

    Falls Church HS – Very cool! Not far from me. It awesome that Affleck would take time to be the honorary speaker at a local Northern VA highschool.

    WTG Ben!!!

  • Bill Harte

    I love Ben…but he doesn’t have enough “pull” to be the commencement speaker at a college? He has to speak at a local high school? What’s up with that?

  • To BEN& someone anyone else

    Really BEN& someone anyone else do yourself a favor and click on his speech and really think about it rather than all your hateration on Jennifer. You might learn something and get over your petty obsessions.

  • rick

    i hated his speech, it was like he was trying to show off…you like saying: “yadda yadda HOLLYWOOD……yadda yadda….ACTOR”
    I t would be so much nicer if he just talked with his heart saying things that really matter. Matthew Fox’s speech was incredibly better that Ben’s. At least for me.

  • @BB@

    To #17
    I actually enjoyed his speech it wasn’t the best one I have ever heard but it’s sure not the worse one. I really think he was able to pass a message that make a difference to people, rather then one that is simply useless.

  • molly

    ben is no longer a player in hollywood,he can thank ms.garner for that.congrat to the kid,i myself have been disable since i was a kid.

  • Hanna

    Ben speech was about his 10 year friendship with Joe. Who has AT.

    Ben is an actor (like him or not). Joe just happen to meet Ben on a movie set. You totally missed the point of the speech if that is all got from it.
    Ben gave a very thought provoking speech. Ben was talking about how Joe he was and is a inspiration to him.
    Joe defying the odds of his disease helped Ben put his own life in perspective. I’m sure he wasn’t thinking about how he could out speak Matthew Fox. He was thinking about his friend.

    I doubt that Matthew Fox knew anyone in the graduating class he spoke too. Most speakers don’t. Ben did, which makes this story more endearing to me

  • rachael green

    bens 4 fans are here.

  • Cat

    I thought the speech was moving. I totally agree with Hanna. The only reason he mentioned “actor” and “hollywood” was because he IS really an actor in hollywood. If you were working for NASA, would you not say you are an astronaut working at NASA? Or is that too much of a “show off”?

  • blondie

    I love this guy!!!

  • jade

    He’s okay, but like someone said, he wants people to “think” he has substance. He’s good at acting humble. His actions, however, prove different. I think he puts off the persona of a quiet intellectual, but inside he’s more of a little freak, especially sexually. I meet men like that all the time, very common.

    Ben has always wanted to be seen and I think he is lying about politics. I think his heart is set on it. No doubt.

  • Bea

    Well, i have to say one thing, really i feel very proud of Ben, he is a fantastic person, and here , he showed us.
    Ben met Joe ten years ago, and still is his friend, …..
    Ben , thanks a lot for be like this.
    one more thing, he was so handsome……..
    For more about his and his family, you can go here:
    This forum is in Spanish, but if you want you post everything about ben, i´ll be there.

  • KarenA

    That was awesome. Thanks, Jared.

  • canuckistani

    OMG!! What a GOOD speech! It made me cry. He got it. He showed up and gave the respect to the ceremony it deserved. It wasn’t some cynical speech by a Hollywood twit but a charming reiteration of what’s important in life, something the graduates need to hear as they start out. I have a whole new respect for Ben Affleck.

  • janeway

    Thank you for posting this Jared. I admire Mr. Affleck for taking his time to do a commencement speech at a High School. I admire the fact that he has maintained a friendship with this special young man all these years. I admire the fact that he strives to inspire these young people and he is not afraid to speak out for what he believes in. He is an Academy award winning writer and an actor who has made a lot of money acting (whatever one thinks of his abilities). He has a beautiful wife and child and I am sure he is very happy with his life. He doesn’t have to impress anyone. I am constantly amazed that people can take such a positive experience and make such negative comments. Why can’t we all just admire the fact that Ben Affleck is trying to do something good. Why do people always have to put other people down? Just because he is a celebrity doesn’t mean he is a bad person.

  • laura

    AAAwwwww that was a great, honest, down to earth, sweet, funny speech Ben!

    Joe is very lucky …. BECAUSE he has a strong and healthy FRIENDSHIP with Ben.

    Ben is very lucky …. simply because he knows Joe. ‘o)

  • Char

    I have loved Ben since Armageddon & yes he has been in some awful films but who hasn’t? He married a woman ‘cos he loved her not ‘cos of her looks or style. He seems like a genuine guy & I LOVE HIM!!!

  • 2jade

    So you meet men like that all the time? Sexual freaks?-either give up the stip club or get off the corner! Ben rocks!

  • Yeah! !

    Do not enjoy him as a actor. as of yet he is still a second grade actor and i think he knows
    it, not bad looking but short on talent.

  • jennifer

    That was a long speech! I almost fell asleep. But I think if Matt Damon was the Speaker it would’ve been much better.
    Garner in a horrible dress again? This “good girl” has really bad taste.

  • mia

    You should look at this picture of “happy” Bennifer II:
    “Ben Affleck goes pyscho
    I don’t know what happened between Ben giving a speech at Falls Church High School’s graduation where he was the Commencement Speaker and the time that he and wife Jennifer Garner left, but it must have been something bad. We caught Ben angrily pulling Jen away from fans who waited outside the graduation. Do you think someone in the audience called him Bennifer? hee! hee!”

  • jade

    # 31 | 2jade @ 06.02.2007 8:34 pm
    So you meet men like that all the time? Sexual freaks?-either give up the stip club or get off the corner! Ben rocks!
    Ben rocks all right. He rocks the joint – the strip club joint.

    He’s typical of men I meet who look so wholesome and serious by appearance, but who are really entertaining lots of dirty thoughts and secrets. In short, he’s perfect for politics.

  • tiffany

    I SHOOK HIS HAND. his speech was def awesome, he hugged ppl on stage and talked to them as we went by. he didn’t even mind the incessant screaming as he walked by us standing in line waiting to process in.

  • tiffany

    oh and jen was on the side… not front and center. we, the graduating class were front and center.

  • jini

    Ben Affleck and his wife Jennifer Garner enjoy at the baseball match Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston Saturday, June 2, 2007.

    They are too cute together.
    Such a sweet couple!!

  • rjb

    My cousin has the same disease that Joe has–a very rare, life-threatening muscular degenerative disease called A-T–and I have followed for years that Ben and Jen have advocated for research for this disease because of their friendship with Joe. Whatever it takes to get attention to A-T research is a good thing, and thank you to Ben Affleck for doing it.