Less than two years after he stabbed a teacher who gave him a low test grade, Jason Haffizulla gave a valedictory address that stressed working toward goals slowly and carefully.
A judge ruled that Haffizulla was temporarily insane when he attacked the teacher. He underwent therapy and enrolled in a private school and graduated Sunday with the highest grade point average at American Heritage school in Plantation."Quite a few people wanted me to put him in prison, but I saw something better in him," said retired Broward Circuit Judge Arthur Franza. "Now look what I've got - a valedictorian."
Haffizulla, 18, warned his classmates to pace themselves.
"The car that doesn't exceed its tolerance and goes slow will eventually achieve its goal," Haffizulla said. "There's nothing wrong with reaching for the stars, but it takes slow and careful preparation."
Haffizulla plans to study cell and molecular biology at Tulane University.
David Pologruto, the teacher he stabbed in 1990, complained that Haffizulla never took responsibility for slashing him in the neck and back.
"This has been a traumatic experience for me," said Pologruto, who still teaches physics at Taravella High in Coral Springs. "It's always going to be with me."