Will We Ever Graduate?

Graduation doesn’t exist, because Stuy is actually an energy plant that uses teenagers as a source of energy to power the country.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Look. I’m sure that you fellow seniors are getting all excited about finally escaping Stuy. Acceptance letters from a college in hand and graduation caps firmly on our heads, we sit in our plastic seats at Arthur Ashe stadium, boiling in the sun. Principal Yu drones on about our bright futures and contributions to society. Ha. It feels like he’s said these words before. I’m sure that you’re worrying about tripping over your gown while receiving your Stuy DiplomaTM, splitting your dress pants, and accidentally mooning Grandma.

Oh, you’re not? Huh.

Well, I’m sorry to have to be the one to break it to you, but there is no escape.

You see, during the height of the Cold War, American scientists working at the NSA accidentally discovered a new source of energy while manufacturing yet another Umbrella Gun Vr. 3 for Agent 007. By sustaining a mass amalgamation of despair and misery in a concentrated area and converting it into joules through a specially altered bacterial enzyme cultured in used toilet paper, they were able to create enough energy to power New York City for an entire week. Subsequent tests on death row prisoners found that the repeated emotional strain needed to provide a consistent energy stream caused permanent mental damage after just two attempts. By trial three, the subjects had the emotional capacity of my math teacher when I asked him for extra credit. The findings were shelved.

But it wasn’t until the 1973 energy crisis that the idea of using human misery as an energy source became adopted for widespread use. OPEC was playing hard to get and the U.S. government was becoming desperate. That’s when a breakthrough discovery was made on the neural plasticity of the human brain, specifically the teenage brain. Apparently, the special cocktail of hormones and unique activation of certain regenerative genes during puberty made it unusually adaptive to extreme stress and more receptive to early forms of memory erasure. I’m sure you know where this is going. Farmer, meet your golden energy-laying goose.

High schools around the nation, already places of fomented anger and anguish, were outfitted for the task. Devices containing the altered enzyme were placed under desks, inside lockers, and on student IDs—come on, did you really think freshman you looked that ugly? The Illuminati edited your photos to make it that way. Self-hatred does wonders for Con Edison’s bottom line. Anyway, the teenagers chosen for the task would undergo a memory wipe every four years and return to the 9th grade to ensure a consistent supply of energy was generated to power the country.

Seeing the look on your face, I know you think I’ve finally lost my marbles. Don’t worry, remote learning only made me lose half of them. When I eavesdropped on former Principal Contreras’s Zoom conversation with Principal Yu (don’t ask me why I was there), I couldn’t believe what I heard either. An entire school system created for the sole purpose of extracting emotional energy? What’s next, Talos actually working?!

“MUA HAHAHAHA,” Principal Yu cackled. “With Covid and the students stuck at home without any meaningful social interaction for a year, I’ll have enough energy to power my new Tesla for free!”

I’m afraid that we don’t have much time left. We stand to line up for our diplomas. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my friend collapse. My sight blurs. There’s a weird sense of deja vu prickling the back of my head. The temperature drops. I’m walking up the Tribeca bridge for the first time, dragging my rolling backpack along with me. My Big Sibs wave me over. I can’t wait to work hard and get accepted into an Ivy League college.