My Hope for the Class of 2020

Congratulations, Graduates!

May 14, 2020 | by katie jones backer
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” -C.S. Lewis 

The conclusion of a school year is always bittersweet. The end of what was, and the prospect of what will come. And then we have a year like this one.

You, lovely young people, have been put through the wringer this year for sure. You (and your families) have every right to mourn the loss of celebrations and opportunities. You have worked hard, persevered, and made it through four years of high school. That’s a big deal! I am sorry that you didn’t get to end this year as you wanted… and deserve.

Still, I hope you feel proud of your hard work and can find some closure for this school year. As a teacher, I want you to know, that on an “average” year, teachers are sad to see you go and proud to watch you march into adulthood. Know that many of your teachers (and school staff members) are brokenhearted to not get to give you that final parting hug or pat on the back. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send your teachers an e-mail saying goodbye. It will mean the world to them, and that closure may be just what you need to move forward.

My hope for you 2020 Graduates is that this will be a jumping-off point to leap into your bright futures. There is so much out there for you… a big world jam-packed with opportunities. I know these times are filled with uncertainty, but I believe that you ARE GROWING right now because of all this. You are living through a global pandemic. History in the making. And moving forward you can choose to make this season one that you look back on with sadness or with satisfaction… make this the moment that you decide to go big! Chase those dreams. Build those relationships. Cherish your experiences. And keep gratitude in your heart always. This season of change, uncertainty, and dashed hopes has given us all a new sense of perspective. I hope you use it as fuel for positive growth and change.

Who knows what innovators are going to come out of this season? How many of you will pursue medical careers or online jobs because of this? What if you, Class of 2020, grow closer and stronger because of this season? What if through your shared lack of end-of-year activities, you have a bonded solidarity as you face the future? Perhaps you’ll even decide to maintain closer relationships than other graduating classes before you because of this. I could see this turning into a regular yearly reunion class versus only every ten years. Start now! Set up a Facebook page for your graduating class to keep in touch.

You can make something wonderful come out of this time despite the hurt. And know, that you are loved and supported by so many. Parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, administrators, community members, employers, friends, and neighbors… we are cheering for YOU this Graduation Season.

Congrats, Grads! Go get ‘em!

5 Pieces of Wisdom for the 2020 Graduating Class:

1.      Find closure however you can.

  • Send a thank-you note or e-mail to your favorite teachers and/or helpful school staff at the very least.
  • Make contact with your friends.
  • Attend your Graduation Ceremony (if your school has one), even if it’s not a standard ceremony.

2.      Have courage as you face the future… and pursue your passions.

  • You do not need all the answers today. As you’ve just seen with this pandemic, life is filled with the unknown. However, you can choose to face it bravely and to stay true to your dreams and goals. Chase after the life you want.

3.      Get ready to work hard.

  • Whatever your plans for after high school are, they’re going to require you to work hard!
  • Have integrity. Do the work. And discover what it is that you enjoy doing, and what you are good at. We can always grow, but it’s so fun when you find that right niche! Don’t be afraid to try new and different things.

4.      Take care of yourself.

  • Your generation may end up way further ahead than previous ones in the health department. You all know the importance of washing your hands now, that’s for sure! But beyond using soap… care for your overall health and wellness.
  • Stay hydrated, get sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise.
  • And more than anything, let people in. Don’t isolate. If you’re struggling, find someone you trust (a friend or a professional) that you can open up to.

5.      Become a life-long learner.

  • Just because high school is over, doesn’t mean the learning stops here. Whether you’re headed into the workforce, college, or the military, get ready to learn… and keep learning.
  • Strive for a fulfilled life—where you continually learn and grow from the world you live in and your experiences. And appreciate every step you take. Your educational journey doesn’t stop at graduation. Welcome to adulthood. Enjoy the ride.

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