Skip to Content

This Is the Speech Otto Warmbier Gave When He Graduated From High School

Photograph by Xinhua—Lu Rui/GettyXinhua News Agency Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Otto Warmbier, who was released by North Korea in a coma and died Monday, spoke in his 2013 high school graduation speech about living in a small town with a close-knit community.

“Looking around, we know the names of pretty much everyone sitting up here, that’s the product of going to a small school,” Warmbier says in a video of the speech released on YouTube before discussing his class’s accomplishments and the losses they faced together.

The community will come together at Wyoming High School again Thursday, this time for Warmbier’s funeral.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in 2016 after attempting to steal a propaganda poster in North Korea. He was released last week when it was revealed he had been in a coma since shortly after his sentencing.

“Even when Wyoming’s class of 2013 is a thing of the past,” Warmbier said in his speech, “we’ll have the support of all these people around us.”