Dear Graduating Class of 2020,
You’ve been jipped. No way to sugarcoat this one. You have spent years working hard toward graduation, whether it be from 8th grade, high school, college, or another degree. All the course work, final exams, projects and planning to make sure you took just the right classes, was done with an end goal: graduation.
Once January came and the second semester began, I’m sure many of you could see the light at the end of the tunnel and all the celebratory milestones that come with the culmination of finishing this chapter in your life. Senior Day, Prom, special award ceremonies, final sport competitions, are among the list of memories you were looking forward to creating. Memories that would last a lifetime.
Then came March and with it the shutdown of every school in our country and many around the world. Along with school closings came the cancellation of every academic, sport and extra-curricular activity.
Parents, teachers, previous graduates; we felt your sadness and disappointment. Our hearts have mourned what has been taken and like I mention above, I feel you’ve been jipped and it’s not fair.
While you will still graduate and receive your diploma, the ceremonies and celebrations will look different than ever before.
This graduating class will forever be remembered as the class that faced COVID-19 with virtual graduations, parking lot graduations, car line graduations and so on. The schools have been creative, and the families have been incredibly supportive, but it’s not the same.
Yet, while activities and events have been taken there are some things that NO ONE can take from you, life skills. I encourage you to hold your head up high and when you are questioned in future college/job interviews you can be proud that you did it. You faced an unprecedented and unfathomable challenge and you MADE IT!
CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2020!
Over the past few months, you’ve been indoctrinated into the realities of life and all the ups and downs that occur. You have experienced challenges like never before and gained qualities and life skills that will carry you forward to a bright future.
These life skills will give you an advantage as you venture toward the next chapter of your life and with these attributes you will be equipped to face a very bright future of your choosing.
The degrees you receive this graduation TELLS the world you’re prepared conceptually, the skills you’ve gained during this pandemic SHOWS the world you have what it takes to build your future.
You have shown the whole world when faced with a challenge you CAN and WILL meet it and rise above it!
I encourage you to keep these qualities with you as you enter the next chapter of your life:
Knowing the end of your schooling was near, you had to finish projects and complete necessary schoolwork to receive your diploma. The persistence and tenacity you’ve demonstrated will serve you well as you enter the next phase of your life, albeit entering the work force, military, moving away to college or entering a new school. You have shown the world you will fight to get the job done and prevail.
When your world is turned upside down, it’s understandable some may want to give up. However, by accepting your unfortunate circumstances your given freedom to hope and envision a better future.
So many of you, while disappointed, held your head up high and faced this life challenge displaying self-respect that shows the world you’re not afraid to face a difficult situation no matter the outcome.
It’s a big world out there with a lot of sorrow. For some, missing a prom, last sporting event or graduating ceremony may not seem like a big deal, others know it is heartbreaking. Regardless, many of you have accepted gracefully that the world changed quickly, and you had to change with it. Some of you even stepped out of your comfort zone and chose to give back by working at food banks, holding a food drive, creating fundraisers to benefit a cause near and dear to your heart. This selfless attitude will allow you to create a more cohesive environment as you become employed or start college or high school.
Never in history has a graduating class been so innovative. Thanks to technology this graduating class didn’t skip a beat and used new and creative methods of learning. More than ever we need innovative thinkers to lead us all toward a brighter future.
During this pandemic, the graduating class of 2020 have turned their dreams into reality cutting through barriers and obstacles with faith and determination. Keep being the trailblazers we need to take risks and create a better future for our world.
It’s natural as generations age for the older generation to wonder about the young coming up the pipeline. Will they be able to cope with the difficulties and challenges of life? Will they possess the knowledge, heart, and stamina to create a better world for the generation after them?
After witnessing the ability of our younger generation, especially the graduating class of 2020, to adapt seamlessly and effectively during this pandemic, I will wonder no more. I feel more confident today than ever our world is headed in the right direction led by the Class of 2020!