PRINCIPAL MIKE SANDIFER: “Hello, everyone, and welcome to this year’s—well, I was going to say, ‘This year’s unprecedented graduation ceremony,’ but I guess we did it like this last year, too, so I suppose it is, uh, somewhat precedented. [nervous laughter]
“Anyway, since last year, I think we have all gotten a lot more used to doing things this way, although I hope we won’t have to do it much longer. I know a lot of you have gotten vaccinated, or have started the process, so I think—I hope, anyway—that we are almost out of this. I know I, for one, would love to see all your smiling faces in person this time next year. Except for you, Coach Klein. I think I still smell your cologne in my office from, ha, a year ago. [more nervous laughter]
“OK, well. [long sigh] To get us started, here is one of our senior teachers, Allison Booth. Ms. Booth?”
ALLISON BOOTH: [begins talking but hasn’t unmuted herself]
PRINCIPAL SANDIFER: “Ms. Booth, hey hey, Ms. Booth. [waves hands in his box on the screen, like he’s warming them on a fire] Ms. Booth, you’re on mute. [waves hands in box] Allison!”
Ms. Booth stops and widens her eyes, mouthing, “Oh, right, right,” in her box on the screen. She leans forward and clicks something on her keyboard.
MS. BOOTH: [still muted but now her Zoom background is the “This is fine” cartoon]
PRINCIPAL SANDIFER: [quietly] “Oh, no. [holds up his hands to the screen, like he’s trying to shove back an intruder] Ms. Booth, Allison, hey, still muted.”
Ms. Booth stops and rolls her eyes in frustration. She mouths, “Hold on a sec,” and leans over her keyboard again.
MS. BOOTH: [still muted, still with the “This is fine” background, but now she looks like an anime princess]
PRINCIPAL SANDIFER: “Nope.”
Ms. Booth stops again. Even though there is no sound, you can practically hear the four-syllable curse word from Ms. Booth’s box. She rolls her eyes at the heavens and leans over her keyboard so dramatically that it looks as though she has banged her head on it. Without looking into the camera, she holds up one finger with so much force it could be spring-loaded. She lifts her head finally and begins to speak once more.
MS. BOOTH: [still muted, still in front of the “This is fine” cartoon, still an anime princess, but now her box on the screen has a yellow and pink frame around it that says “I’m that bitch” at the top and bottom in pulsating letters]
PRINCIPAL SANDIFER: “Well, it looks like Ms. Booth is having some technical issues, so let’s just—how about we keep it moving? Next up, we have valedictorian Graham Bennett. Graham?”
GRAHAM BENNETT: [caught by surprise, exhales what appear to be two entirely full lungs of vaporized THC oil from the pen he is slowly pulling out of frame and starts talking]
PRINCIPAL SANDIFER: [quietly] “Graham, you’re on mute.”