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NEWMAN, CA - When a 17-year-old high school valedictorian from Crows Landing chose Spanish for his graduation speech, it wasn't for political reasons.

"In no way was I making a statement. My language at birth was Spanish, my whole family speaks Spanish. It would be nice if most could understand most of it," saidSaul Tello Jr.

Tello apologized before starting the Orestimba High School ceremony, but that decision has become a national topic of interest after Fox TV commentator Bill O'Reillywas critical one recent evening.

FACEBOOK: Fan comment on Tello's speech

"I thought a handful of people would be like, why is this in Spanish? Never knew it would go this far, and come out on the news. No idea this would happen," said Tello.

Tello said he was planning on delivering his speech in both English and Spanish, but was encouraged by school officials to drop English because the ceremony was in danger of running too long.

In the fall, he said he'll be attending San Diego State University, where he'll major in political science.

Bytdaly@news10.net