The following is a transcript from the Plum Heights High School 2015 commencement ceremony.
And now Carrie Blake Sanford, with reflections.
Hello, everyone. All praise his Lordship.
[mumbles of appreciation]
Classmates, faculty, loved ones – wow. What a journey.
It feels like just yesterday we were lying our way out of gym class, or making silly prom-posals, or bickering with Mrs. Blackwell when she gave us demerits for skirt length. Oh wait, that was just yesterday.
[hold for big laughs]
Today I stand before you to say three words to my mom: “I was wrong.” Unlike our school motto, “hinc illae lacrimae,” these are words I never thought I’d say. I was wrong when I said that I wanted to be a grown-up all those times, I was wrong when I questioned the demands of the administration and I was wrong when I told Mrs. Blackwell that what she was doing in the chem lab after hours was legal.
Thank you, Mom, and thank you Mrs. Blackwell for starting the horrifying but ultimately pacifying – SAT word! – chain of events that brought me here today.
[pause as Carrie Blake Sanford looks to the sky, where a large distant shape hums]
The four years I have spent at Plum Heights High School have been the best of my life. I came to this school four years ago as Carrie Blake Sanford, Blake Thomas Sanford’s kid sister who developed early and got the lead in the spring musical her freshman year. Now I stand before you a woman, a graduate, Carrie Blake Sanford, a minor deity with a small gravitational pull who has gotten the lead in the spring musical all four years, though some would argue that Cogsworth isn’t the lead in Beauty and the Beast.
Four years can change a lot.
As freshmen, we used to shop at Hollister and American Eagle. Today, we have to trim our horns every morning and make sure our blood hasn’t been poisoned with the malevolent ghosts we made in chem class. We used to stress about getting to class on time, and now we have small wheels welded to the pads of our feet per the orders of his Lordship. We used to say the Pledge of Allegiance in Ms. Blackwell’s class but now we close and widen our eyes while emitting a low hum to please Him.
Four years can change everything.
[a distant croaking is heard as the large, hovering object begins to cast a shadow on the football field]
As I’m sure we all were, I was deeply saddened by the passing of Debra Gann in 2013 after she was consumed by a chemistry accident.
[murmurs of “Praise Him” can be heard throughout the crowd]
But as I’m sure we all double were, I was quick to realize that this was a noble sacrifice in the name of that glorious accident that brought his Lordship to us after Ms. Blackwell sacrificed Debra in the name of bringing a lab frog to life.
[Debra’s mother can be heard wailing]
Four years can change a lot, especially if you’re Debra Gann. Were Debra Gann, I mean.
[Debra’s father mutters something disparaging about His Lordship, is consumed by an enormous, slick tongue from the shape hovering over football field, now casting the entire field in shadow]
Growing from a naïve freshman who believed that there was a fourth floor and the possibility of not being ruled by a gigantic frog to where I am today would not have been possible without the support of my peers. I’d like to give a special shoutout to the Plum Heights cheerleading squad and our limbs crew. What would we have done without you last year when my arm just clean fell off during the halftime show?
[distant cheer from back of crowd, dull roar from bleachers]
I would have bled to death, that’s what. I am a human, and I’m not saying that to sound defensive.
But in all seriousness, wow.
My ugliest hero once said to “do one thing every day that scares you." She and her husband Theodore Roosevelt went on to change the world, much like the 2015 class of Plum Heights High School will when most of us go to college and the poor ones enlist. And of course, it wouldn’t be a true 2015 graduation ceremony if we weren’t tweeting about the whole darn thing.
[titters of appreciation, except for Debra Gann’s parents]
With that in mind, I would like to invite everyone to take their phones out right now and take a selfie, a word so inescapable that it has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary and tattooed on my lower back. Smile, class of 2015!
[Carrie Blake Sanford snaps selfie on shadowy football field as low frog croak is heard from above]
As Mrs. Blackford would say, “Surprise! You have just submitted a frontal photograph of your face to the government for subsequent cloning. Please do not panic as His Lordship the Frog slowly descends upon the field to crush us all in several tons of amphibian flesh so that our likenesses can be used on sentient robots.”
I have…[BEEP]…Carrie…and….[BEEP] thank –
[Carrie Blake Sanford’s words are intermingled with loud siren noises from her mouth as the football field goes completely dark. A croaking grows louder as the hovering frog descends.]
[Carrie Blake Sanford’s skin explodes, revealing a slick robotic physique beneath. She now speaks in a robotic monotone.]
Best of luck in all your future endeavors.
[wails from bleachers as the frog grows closer, its wet smell becoming overwhelming]
ALL – HAIL –
[burst of light suddenly tears through center of frog, guts fall on terrified graudates as glowing figure descends from the demon’s belly]
ENEMY – DETECTED –
[Mrs. Blackwell gestures frantically at crowd. Debra Gann’s mother shouts, “MY BABY!”
Beyond-the-dead Debra Gann spreads arms and begins to glow brighter, brighter until the enormous hovering frog carcass explodes entirely, raining guts and skin onto the grateful crowd.
Mrs. Blackwell tears her hair out as Debra Gann, still glowing but exhausted, pushes the robot of Carrie Blake Sanford aside and takes the still-working microphone in her glowing hand.]
Plum Heights Class of 2015 – IT! IS! OVER!
[wild cheers as Gann parents weep at this miracle]
Four years can change everything. Hinc illae lacrimae!
[standing ovation, smirks as geeks finally translate school motto]