A startlingly viral epidemic has spread throughout Newton South's recently graduated class of 2006. Researchers studying the phenomenon say that college is taking a much larger toll on the group of young graduates than was expected, although even the initial predictions were dire.
“It's just shocking,” said an epidemiologist who is also the parent of a student whose life has been claimed by college. “The black plague had a death rate of two thirds, at the most. The loss of life in the affected group is almost 100 percent. It's unbelievable.”
Doctors say that early signs of college regularly showed up in students as long as two years before it took its final toll, while some rare cases showed symptoms as many as four years prior. “We didn't think anything of them,” said one local pediatrician about the early signs of college. “It just didn't occur to us that such commonplace symptoms would develop into an epidemic, especially so long after they first showed up.”
Other pediatricians agreed, adding that they had considered the symptoms normal since so close to 100 percent of their patients of that age had displayed signs of college in one way or another. Many grieving parents wonder why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn't forsee the outbreak. “Isn't the whole point of [CDC's] existence to predict, prevent, and stop pandemics like these?” said Muriel Luciana, whose son was taken by college.
“I want to assure everyone that the CDC is looking into this problem,” said a center spokesman. “We will not stop until we have answers.” The organization is launching a comprehensive investigation into the syndrome, focusing on how it is passed from person to person and what caused it to become epidemic so quickly.
The Newton community has been devastated by the ongoing tragedy, which epidemiologists predict will come to an end within about two weeks. “They started going in the middle of August, and they just haven't stopped since,” sobbed the parent of one of the first kids to go. “Now there's just me, my husband, and our cat in the house, and it's so... quiet,” she said between sniffles.
Brian Salzer, Newton South's new principal, spoke yesterday at a crowded PTO gathering, outlining his plans for preventing such an outbreak next year. “While this year's epidemic is severe, I have great confidence that, with greater awareness and more competent leadership, our school can avoid another such disaster,” Salzer proclaimed.
A city-wide memorial service is scheduled for this Tuesday at city hall for all the teachers, friends, parents, and extended relatives of those lost in the tragedy.
We regret to inform you that among those who lost their lives to college were the entire staff of The Radish. This article has been brought to you by the tortured soul of Tao, which was unable to rest until his promise of one last article was fulfilled. Alberge, likewise, was not able to rest until after editing this article, and his soul now roams free. Unidyne and Master Sref were beyond salvation to begin with. The Radish Staff wants to thank its fans for all the fan email (a total of three messages) and for not even noticing the Radish mission statement posters because they looked so damn similar to the real ones.
But seriously, thanks to all who read and otherwise supported The Radish through its 34-article run. The website will stay up indefinitely, or until Tao and Alberge go broke. It's been fun.