Church of Satan Sigil of Baphomet

Hellion Valedictorian?

Kaitlin Nootbaar earned her status as valedictorian with her perfect 4.0 average at Prague High School in Oklahoma. In her valedictory address, she apparently made a reference to one of the very popular “Twilight Saga” vampire films by using the word “hell” as a means for emphasis. By the printed accounts, the audience laughed, applauded her speech, and when she went to claim her hard-won diploma she was denied it. Apparently, in the copy of her text approved by school authorities, she used “heck” instead, but passion carried the moment when she declaimed her words. The school has not released information as to precisely who made the decision to raise hell about this word substitution, but for many who have been drawn to observe this situation, it seems rather ironic that a school proudly touting that it is the home of the Red Devils would get hot under the collar about this particular word.

An apology has been demanded or else the hostage diploma will not be given to its rightful owner. Ms. Nootbaar has declined to make such an apology, feeling that her spur-of-the-moment alteration was not a dire wrong to be righted and that a false apology is not an ethical one. Regardless, she is preparing to launch her college career on a full scholarship. It would seem that someone in authority at that school needs to fess-up about the reasons why they are so nettled, since her target audience did not respond negatively to Ms. Nootbaar’s oration. Perhaps they are just enjoying the publicity?

Her reference to the infernal regions is part of colloquial use as a means for emphasis – and even the dictionary widget on my laptop explains it thusly. So, giving her hell here seems to be rather unwarranted. From one valedictorian to another, I offer my wishes to Ms. Nootbaar for great success in her future in whatever career she may choose to follow. Will her standing-up for her rights to self-expression stand her in good stead for the rest of her academic career? I must say, “Hell yes!”

Magus Peter H. Gilmore

Valedictorian, Class of 1976