By Zach Bostic
Ever since he was born in 2006 at the age of 17, Sheldon Speedmeyer has dreamed of pursuing college and higher academia. The ultimate dream. Whether it be his top choice, Nebraska College of Human Scarecrowing, or his safety school, Western South Dakota State University for Hitchhiking, he has applied to countless schools over his ten-year tenure as an eligible applicant. However, the student body is curious. Why, of all people, is Collegiate School’s most profound senior consistently neglected by the college world?
Speedmeyer, for better or worse, is the most experienced Collegiate student ever. Other than his favored courses, such as AP Selective Hearing, the academic rigor at Collegiate has taken its toll on his capabilities as a student. When asked about his favorite class, Speedmeyer claims that “Honors Senioritis Studies is a challenging course, but it’s a pleasant time to step away from the stress of other classes.” Taught by esteemed Director of Tranquility and Good Vibes Dr. Horton Speegley, Honors Senioritis Studies offers deep insight into the burden of senioritis in the daily lives of Collegiate seniors, as well as a more theoretical examination on how it can impact adult life. Speegley, when pressed about Speedmeyer’s performance, is quick to assert that “I cannot comprehend why Sheldon struggles to succeed in a class that outlines the art of doing nothing.”
As well as various AP credits, Speedmeyer has also taken every upperclassman English elective possible. Speedmeyer, when asked about his worst experience, responds with a question: “Why didn’t we read Les Misérables in British Literature? Isn’t that what England’s all about?” Also, Speedmeyer cannot understand why Rhetoric and Composition, taught by Upper School English Teacher Dr. Leah Sievers, involves so much writing.
As a tenth-year senior, Sheldon has become well-versed in the college application process. College counselor Del Fantasma has worked with Sheldon since both arrived in the same year. A graduate and former admissions officer at SPAM College of Food Preservation, Fantasma focuses nearly all of his work on assisting Sheldon in his college search. Fantasma’s catchphrase, “Why haven’t I retired?!” can be heard echoing down the halls of South Science in the early hours before school as he works to strengthen Sheldon’s applications. Unfortunately, Sheldon’s Common Application expired after 12 years, and he is now forced to apply to each school individually. And, because of Sheldon’s severe shortcomings in completing applications, Fantasma lives in the storage closet behind North Science’s STEAM laboratory. Though Fantasma claims his housing is “only temporary,” many students claim they have never seen him leave campus.
Filling his applications with copious lists of AP courses and Honors credits, Speedmeyer works deliberately to make himself a more appealing candidate for colleges. However, his hopes are often dashed by his poor attention to detail. Upon reviewing many of his former applications, more than 60% are plagued by one common error: he fails to spell his own name correctly. Interestingly, Speedmeyer seems to lack an understanding of his faults, once working for nearly 40 hours on one essay, only to be shown his keyboard was disconnected. And unfortunately, Sheldon’s college recommendation writers no longer have the time or patience to put effort into his letters. Upper School English teacher and Match advisor Vlastik Svab described his experience, stating that “I approached the writing of his college recommendation letter as I do a visit to the dentist: painful, boring, and smelling of novocaine, Crest, and fear.”
Collegiate alum Russell Wilson (‘07) once told Speedmeyer: “Don’t be afraid to fail.” Supposedly, that is the sole reason for his extended years as an Upper School student. But why is he overlooked by colleges worldwide? After proposing this question to both Speedmeyer and Fantasma, the two pondered together. Following a thirty-minute recess from our meeting, Fantasma finally responded: “He’s been a senior for nearly 11 years. Have you ever heard of a 29-year-old high school graduate?”
After spending time with Collegiate’s fabled senior, I began to see some obscure elements of his life on campus that have led me to my final conclusion: Sheldon can often be seen holding conversations with local figurehead Assistant Vice Director of Interscholastic Espionage Thaddius McBlave. Thus, I believe the root of Sheldon’s “struggles,” with covert support from Fantasma, lie in a secret cooperation between Speedmeyer and McBlave. Maybe, just maybe, we’ve been asking the wrong questions.
Featured image: Sheldon at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, in 2010. He does get around. Photo credit: Vlastik Svab.