The Class of 2021: A Fitting Finale


So often, we say that art imitates life. If this is true, Archbishop Mitty, specifically the Class of 2021, is approaching any self-respecting work of fiction’s finest hour: its finale. With this in mind, the question then becomes which pieces of “art” have been hiding within the events that define our last month at Mitty, be they ceremonies, AP tests, or just human interactions.

The final scene of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

One obvious comparison to draw might be to the likes of Grease and High School Musical, lighthearted high school flicks that seem tailor-made as exaggerated takes on senior life. However, they do lose some points with us, given that real-life seniors never burst into song. Unfortunately, this means that our search will have to involve some stretches from here on out.

With the disorienting effects of COVID-19, quarantine, and distance learning dominating this year, one could be forgiven for assuming that the end of this year would be like the final scene of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (you know, the one where the astronaut watches himself age in the middle of a white void before seemingly being turned into a flying space embryo)—immensely confusing yet undeniably meaningful, and most of all your opinion on it comes down to how you interpret it. However, thanks to the return of several school events and even hybrid learning for those who opt in, our finale has looked a lot more like the ending of Footloose than any of us expected. Sure, the dancing may have been six feet apart, but given the return of (a form of) Senior Prom our finale definitely had a musical aspect.

Meanwhile, while we don’t end the year with a grand, triumphant (though clichéd) ceremony honoring the “heroes of Mitty” in the same way the Rebellion presents Han and Luke medals of honor at the end of A New Hope, Mitty did have Awards Convocations (and in the seniors’ case, medallions were in fact handed out). From a more lofty perspective, one could imagine the end of each school year to be a lot like the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark: each student’s record is transferred into Mitty’s storage system like the Ark is placed into the U.S. government’s top-secret warehouse. Much as the reward for Indy’s legendary quest became one of many relics stored under the government’s purview, Mitty has become the keeper of hundreds of legacies each year, buried in the archives of its alumni records.

The Bewildering Saga of Chewbacca's Missing Medal in Star Wars - IGN
Rebellion presents Han and Luke medals of honor at the end of “A New Hope.”

Of course, with everyone going their separate ways at the end of the month, it is only fitting to remember the ending of Fast and Furious 7, in which the two protagonists literally and metaphorically find themselves splitting apart as their shared road splits into two. With the all-too-familiar song “See You Again” playing in the background, it’s easy to imagine oneself at those same crossroads as Vin Diesel sharing “one last ride” with your best friend as the month concludes. 

While I can continue to compare and contrast the endings of stories we love with the stories we live, this pursuit may seem a bit short-sighted when we remember that our adult lives are just beyond the close of this year. What is an ending for now is actually a prologue for later, but that shouldn’t stop us from making our finale as grand as any movie.