Graduation Day

Michael Vail ‘24


ACT I OF I          SCENE 1 OF 1

About-to-graduate seniors make their way to the stage to be awarded a diploma. DCU Center double booked, so the stage is the Kimball Quad, where the most—peculiar?—events occur. A large, dull tent is established to protect students from the rain, should it come. President Rougeau stands pridefully at the center of the stage, having just given a speech about Graduation Day.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Congratulations, Class of 2023!

UNKNOWN VOICE: (loudly) Thank you, sir!

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: The next graduating senior may approach this stage. I have a gift for thee, to celebrate thy graduation. For after thou accept my gift, thou will hath graduated, and that should be honored.

Cautious Senior makes their way to the stage.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Oh, I know exactly what to gift thee. Please accept this ham! It is a fine ham, salted and aged under the finest countryside tree.

CAUTIOUS SENIOR: I don’t quite like ham.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: (taken aback) But I said it is a fine ham.

CAUTIOUS SENIOR: And I don’t like it.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: (perturbed, but forcing a grin) Everyone watches. Accept this fine ham, please, for the sake of thy commencement. In the grand scheme of life, what significance place thou on a fine ham?

Cautious Senior begrudgingly accepts the ham. They carry it off the stage, looking unsure as to what to do with it. They sit down in their chair, cradling the ham.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Will the next commencing senior make their way to the stage?

Concerned Senior makes their way to the stage, step by nervous step.

CONCERNED SENIOR: I am ready to graduate.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Then thou hath chosen an appropriate place to be.

CONCERNED SENIOR: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: I gift thee a belt from the Holy Cross Bookstore. It is valued at one hundred and forty United States Dollars. One may consider using it to hold up one’s pants.

CONCERNED SENIOR: I’ve always wanted this belt. Had my eye on it since my first year.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Progression and development reap wonderful benefits. The true understanding of such a gift can only be attained after time passes. Astonishing, is it not?

CONCERNED SENIOR: Do you mean to say that if I had bought the belt earlier, I would have not thought to use it to hold up my pants?

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: I mean to say that if thou hath purchased the belt earlier, thou would hath lost a hundred and forty dollars.

Concerned Senior becomes enlightened.


Enlightened Senior exits the stage—the stage, as in, the Kimball Quad.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: I hath but one more gift to bestow. Will the final recipient please enter the stage?

Final Recipient enters the stage.

FINAL RECIPIENT: I understand you have a gift for me, sir.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Yes, I hath one final gift for thee, if thou would kindly accept it. I gift thee a diploma.

FINAL RECIPIENT: (appalled) But everyone else got a diploma, too!

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: And now thou hath one.

FINAL RECIPIENT: Why promise me a special gift when the gift isn’t really special?

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Take a closer look at thy diploma. On the decorated page, upon close inspection thou will discover thy name on the front!


PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: Not a single soul hath received the same privilege.

All the other graduating seniors look down at their respective diplomas, only to find that, indeed, their names are not present. Each diploma, with the exception of Final Recipient’s, reads, “[Enter Student Name here].” The students become disgruntled.

PRESIDENT ROUGEAU: (calmly) An honest mistake, mind you. Fret not, for the intern who hath committed this grave error has been released from their duties.

FINAL RECIPIENT: I suppose my gift is not so bad after all. I apologize for my impudence.

Final Recipient receives a number of envious glares from the other students. But this happens offstage, so the audience will not be aware that this is happening. They can only assume that Final Recipient is the recipient of not just a complete diploma, but also the envious glares. Only those fortunate enough to read this will have their possible suspicions confirmed.


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