Distinguished guests, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and bored younger siblings. I want to thank you all for giving me, Leslie Edwin Miles, the opportunity to speak here at my alma mater, Elyria High School, so that I may impart some of my wisdom on impressionable youth as they are about to take their first steps out into the real world.
And what better way to start their path into adulthood by receiving advice from a man with the breadth of experience that I have; not only have I seen Bo Schembechler naked, but I've sampled grass from fields of 6 of the finest football programs in the Southeastern Conference, and in my spare time I take night classes in an effort to tell time on analog clocks.
But that's not really why I'm here today. Yes, it's my 40th high school reunion, but I'm also a multimillionaire with time to kill and this is Elyria Ohio. No, the real reason I'm here is to do a favor for your principal and break some hard news to you, news that he felt that I was uniquely qualified to give.
I know that most of you have worked hard in the past four years to get where you are now. For four years you fought off the temptations of sloth and gluttony, worked hard, and made it to your first real, adult accomplishment in life. Your bright, acne-riddled faces gleam underneath the mortarboards that represent your passage from these esteemed halls into college and then on to near certain unemployment. Or so you thought.
See kids, it turns out there's a problem with your diplomas. It turns out we can't give 'em out to everybody we told we could.
I know! I'm shocked too. I see from your reaction that many of you are a little angry. And believe me, so am I. I'd let you all graduate if I could. But the numbers just don't work out that way.
Here's what happened: frankly, we thought you all were a little smarter than this. When your principal said that you were all going to graduate, he kind of thought that meant you were going to make us all look at least somewhat good in doing so. But, sadly, you didn't. So really it comes down to an issue of numbers.
What Elyria High School needs is a hard cap of 85 individuals with good grades. Not amazing grades, mind you, but we're looking to average out to something like a 3.1 GPA for the class. For instance, Bobby Oaks? Yeah, that C in PE didn't help your cause. "Progeria" or not, it's literally just running laps, kid. Geez. So anyway, I'm sorry to the kids that we thought we'd be able to give diplomas to this year. But despite being given a promise based on technically meeting all of the academic requirements, you don't meet our personal requirements for the composition of the graduating class (which, of course, changes from year to year), and you're out.
Kind of a bum rap, yeah. But hey: You've got to live life like someone's stealing it from you. Because sometimes that is literally true and that someone is Les Miles.
I make no apologies for what I have to do here. In life we need winners, and any attempts to shelter you from the realities of life will ultimately hurt you in the long run. Probably not as much as taking away something that you had assumed was yours will hurt you, but it's best to learn these types of things early and often.
You do have options, however! I highly encourage all of you who had diplomas revoked to seek what we've decided to call an "academic greyshirt scholarship," which will basically let you be at our beck and call for another year, and after that we'll see if your transcript has improved a little in comparison to your new peers. It's a crapshoot, but really, who are you to argue with the people who hold your future in their hands? Haha I kid, but seriously don't test us.
Let me be clear: The first reason you are allowed to have success is because someone believes in you and starts you on your way. And I guess the second reason is that you met an arbitrary criteria handed down by a man who literally eats parts of your lawn like a farm animal. For those of you who were lucky enough to stay in our good graces, congratulations! I'm sure your family and friends are very proud of all that you've accomplished, and we wish you all the best for the future as you represent EHS with pride. You are truly the future of America and the world, and we know that your journey will lead us all to a better tomorrow.
For those of you who might make us look bad, please return your cap and gown, you are trespassing and have 15 minutes to leave the premises. Thanks.