Judge Judy Gives Powerful Advice in Tear-Jerking Commencement Speech

by Raphael Chestang 1:36 PM PDT, May 22, 2015
Playing Judge Judy Gives Powerful Advice in Tear-Jerking Commencement Speech

Shiprock High School isn't the kind of court that Judge Judy Sheindlin usually presides over, but she ruled nonetheless.

The host of Judge Judy delivered a nearly-20 minute commencement speech at the New Mexico high school’s graduation, sharing personal advice on how to succeed after students receive their diplomas.

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"Number one -- and I want you to emblaze this on your brain -- you only have one chance to make a first impression," Judge Judy stressed to students.

Her Honor also stressed the importance of hard work.

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"A combination of tenacity and luck brought me here today," the 72-year-old judge continued. "I was an unremarkable student with passable looks and a direct personality. Nothing in my early childhood suggested to anyone -- except maybe my father -- that one day I would be standing here and be known simply as Judge Judy."

So, how did this school get lucky enough to hear Judge Judy sage advice? Her appearance was made possible because of a Facebook contest, which 18-year-old Alexus Uentille won after submitting an essay that greatly moved the daytime TV host, prompting her to make the long trek from her Connecticut home.

"Quite frankly I was hoping that we would find some school closer and more geographically suitable to where I live," Judge Judy told ET. "But then I started to go through the letters, and the letter from Alexus was compelling. She said so many movies are made here because they use that wonderful shiprock. So many people come and use the land, but so few of the people that come -- the celebrities that come -- stayed and spoke to the kids about how to realize their dreams and be successful."

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One line from Alexus' moving essay read, "It's time that we as Navajo youth get the encouragement that we deserve."

Judge Judy certainly left the 117 graduates with a word of encouragement that will likely stay with them for the rest of their lives.

"Never let anyone or anything define your value or limit your dream," she said.