Dear Readers,

We have an announcement: We’re having a contest. It’s a commencement address contest—known in full as the Trop Short Fake College or High School Class President Commencement Address Contest—and I’d like to tell you about it.

The Trop Short Fake College or High School Class President Commencement Address contest is an opportunity to write in the wisest, most bombastic, most grandiose way possible. Most of us didn’t get selected to give our commencement addresses. Most of us had to sit in our gowns sweating, enduring wisdom of a particularly harsh variety—the sort of wisdom that sounds kind of possibly good when you’re hearing it (“Yes! I will pursue my dreams!”), but that you know won’t hold up the moment you take your gown off and go back to your normal life. That’s the problem with commencement wisdom—you’re sitting there, and you’re energized, either because you’re swallowing wholesale whatever’s echoing in your ears or because you’re rebelling full-throttle against those same echoes, but you know that whatever you’re hearing will dissipate, and you’ll be back to complaining about traffic and the fact that you don’t know what to do with yourself. It’s no good. It’s a faulty system.

With the Trop Short Fake College or High School Class President Commencement Address Contest, we hope to curate a better, funnier form of commencement wisdom. A kind that, even if it doesn’t inspire anyone to become an astronaut, will make for good reading.

The prize money is good: $500 for first, $250 for second, and $100 for third. Amelia Gray, author of Threats, will judge. Submissions are open until March 31, and all three finalists, along with two runners-up, will be published in The Weather in May, when we announce the results. Click here for more details, imagine yourself before the audience of thousands that you deserve, and tell your friends. We look forward to reading what you come up with.

Happy President’s Day,

Tom Dibblee, Editor

Tom Dibblee is Trop’s editor. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and his nonfiction has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Point. He lives in Los Angeles.


  1. [...] Trop, an online literary magazine based in Los Angeles, is having a commencement address contest. We expect submissions to be grandiose, absurd, and funny. First prize will win $500, second will win $250, third will win $100, and all five top finishers will be published in our Weather section in May. Amelia Gray will judge. Keep it between 500 and 1,500 words. We think this is going to be hilarious and we’re really looking forward to reading everything that comes in. [...]