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Fitz's Opinion: My commencement address to the Tortolita Titans of 2020
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Fitz's Opinion: My commencement address to the Tortolita Titans of 2020

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David Fitzsimmons

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer:

Let’s all thank our fantastic Tortolita Titans marching-in-place band for their Zoom performance of “I will survive.” Cyber high five, Titans!

As I look out upon this Zoom “meeting” of the graduating class of 2020 I want to say you look incredible in your caps and masks.

I saw you roll your eyes, Luis.

Elena! Change your virtual background to an acceptable image.

And Franklin! Stop dabbing.

When I call your name, your diploma, delivered by DiplomaDash, will be on your front porch along with your commemorative Tortolita Titans hand sanitizer.

Class of 2020, we’ve been through some amazing times together. Mass shooter lockdown drills. The sexting incident. More shooter lockdown drills. The other sexting incident. “LOL”, as you young people like to text!

Timmy, turn off your “Crickets” app, please. Don’t make me ask assistant principal Gates to mute you! For this occasion I’d like to read,“Oh the places you’ll go!” by Dr. Seuss. And speaking of Dr. Seuss, how about a shoutout to all of our brave doctors, and nurses, out there, who can’t rhyme “Ham” and “Sam,” but are saving lives!

Franklin, I asked you to stop dabbing.


This may not be your year but today is your day!

You have masks on your head. And the Pandemic Blues.

Did you wash your hands? Do our signals confuse?

With your head full of brains and a virus to beat,

You’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

Oh. The places you’ll go.


Like by 2021.

Or 2022.

You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!

Cross fingers our death toll doesn’t soar to new heights!

Your brains, grit and spirit is what this world needs.

Boomers passed the buck — it’s up to you to lead.

We’re sorry about the pandemic, climate and the rest,

Whatever you do, we know you’ll be the best of the best!”

I heard that, Zeke! Mute that young man. Now. Thank you, Mr. Gates.

If I could offer one word of advice it would be this: Never offer just one word of advice.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules!

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes except when it comes to following the CDC guidelines. Can’t learn from a mistake in a coma!

I saw that, Dalton! That’s a wholly inappropriate Instagram effect, young man. Don’t make me ask Mr. Gates to kill your video feed. The future is in your hands, class of 2020. With that in mind I want to remind you to be sure to wash your hands after handling the future. Also, scrub the future thoroughly with disinfectant.

Set the future aside for at least three days before handling it again.

Class of 2020, avoid mosh pits until 2025. Don’t drink bleach. Wear sunscreen. Wear sanitizer over your sunscreen. Titans, follow your passion. At a distance of 6 feet. Be it health care, health surveillance, testing and tracing, epidemiology, virology, processing unemployment applications, crowd control or installing solar panels.

Your graduation is not an end — it’s a whole new beginning. I believe that was said by a brontosaurus to a triceratops when he eyeballed an asteroid bearing down on the Yucatan.

Thank you for that thumbs up, Jasmine. One thumbs up. What’s that, Mr. Gates? That wasn’t her thumb? Kill her video feed, Mr. Gates.

Titans, I want to close with a beautiful story about a starfish that may “unmask” your feelings on this very special day.

I hear you all pretending to cough. Mute them, Mr. Gates. Thank you, Mr. Gates.

I once saw a small child on a beach, in defiance of CDC guidelines. The small child was tossing a starfish back into the ocean. I said, “What’s the point, small child, of tossing one starfish back in? There are millions of them on the beach! It’s hopeless. The reefs are bleached, the ocean is warming and marine life is dying.”

The small child smiled at me and said. “I made a difference for that one.” Then I coughed a dry cough. And the small child ran.

Finally, tonight, Titans, I want you to party like it’s 1348!

And no, Tony, that’s not when Columbus discovered America. That was 1492. Who unmuted Tony’s audio?

The year 1348 was when the bubonic plague slammed Europe like our faculty’s been slammed learning to teach online.

Elena! Turn off your phone! I heard your “rim shot” app! Mr. Gates, mute Elena’s audio.

Class of 2020, you will be the Greatest Generation of this century. Because you have the smarts, the grit, the courage, the heart and the imagination to repair our world. And you have one thing no other generation has ever had.

No choice.

Good luck, Titans.

And now the names.

David Fitzsimmons:

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