high school coronavirus

An Honest Graduation Speech – August 2020 Satire


Good morning! It’s wonderful to see everyone here today. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing your faces crowded into my computer screen, staring sleepily back at me from the Zoom window, and right next to the Netflix tab that I am itching to get back into.

Wait, what is that message in the chatbox? Someone’s informing me that it’s actually the afternoon? Well, pardon my mistake. My circadian rhythm has been out of whack ever since quarantine started. 

Moving right along, I’m going to start off my spiel with an obligatory list of thank-yous. 

First off, I would like to thank the teacher who has not once agreed to turn a blind eye to the fact that I messed with the margins to reach the page requirement. Thank you to whoever regularly stole money out of my wallet to fund their Juul addiction while I was in gym class. Thank you to all of my classmates who fed my insecurities and anxiety as eagerly as if it were the campus possum. And thank you to the individual who obtained advance copies of the economics tests and, instead of sharing them with the rest of us, hoarded it away like an angry rat, thus breaking the grading curve and leaving us as broken and depressed as the recession graphs we do not at all understand.

But most of all, I would like to thank the wonderful people who decided to throw a party, post the pictures all over Facebook, and obtain a positive on a COVID-19 test — hence the reason for our *very* socially-distanced meeting today. It’s unfortunate that our graduation ceremony is now online, but even more upsetting that you all now have an up-close view of the bags under my eyes and stress acne on my chin.

By the way, I can say all this because I know that absolutely none of you are listening, and that all of you are on TikTok right now.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all that over with, let’s head into the real meat of this speech. 

What was my obligatory cliche quote, again? Oh, right. “Today marks the first day of the rest of our lives.” (Oh, God, it sounds worse out loud.) And, my fellow students, the future is dim. The majority of us will head off to college, where we are sure to realize that high school has taught us absolutely nothing of importance. Some of us might skip straight to the workforce, where we are sure to learn that high school has taught us nothing of importance. But that’s okay, because at least we can put on our resumes that we know how to perfectly graph a parabola on a TI-84, and that “antidisestablishmentarianism” is the longest word in the dictionary.

Excuse me if I sound slightly bitter. I had written these remarks when the trauma of the past four years was still fresh in my head and the smell of the hallways was still circling through my nose. I will admit that I was quite affected.

Finally, I just want to remind you all that we, the class of 2020, are the future. And if that isn’t something that fills you with concern, I don’t know what will. To all of you who seem to bring up during every political debate that you want to be president one day: I wouldn’t trust you to run the Italian Ice shack down the street, much less the country. I don’t think I will ever be able to see any of you as future doctors or surgeons, but as the kids who come into AP Environmental Science every morning completely blazed. Don’t worry, I have zero faith in myself either, but at least I was always realistic about my potential.

Anyway, despite the fact that most of us are headed to the same four schools on the East Coast, I will probably never speak to any of you again. So I would like to leave you with this lasting message — another non-cliche quote that I definitely did not get off Pinterest. The world is your sandy, smelly oyster, my friends, so “carpe diem!” Seize the day! 

And do unexpected things! Or, more realistically, do things that are very expected — because if high school has taught me anything, it’s that the status quo is oppressive and will crush anyone who tries to defy it. (I mean, isn’t that the whole point of MLA format?)

We started at the bottom, and … well, it looks like we’re still at the bottom. But I can only hope that it goes up from here. 

Thank you.


Make sure to check out Anjali’s last satire.