photo by D. Crickets
We are living in extraordinary times.
We said 2020 would be our year; that this would be the year when we would finally see all of our hard work pay off; where we could finally take a breather and enjoy our last moments of high school; the year when we would embark on a new chapter of our lives.
Following recent developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, however, many of us may feel upset, robbed, angry, or anxious about the sudden turn of events that now threaten to upend the rest of our school year. We have every right to feel this way. Many have gone so far as to say to me that they feel “hopeless”.
Hearing this, I feel saddened myself, because it seems that we may be forgetting all that we’ve been through together.
Ladies and gentlemen, we as a class have experienced so much together. In these last four years, we have weathered missing assignments, countless difficult tests, threats of school shootings, a bomb threat, power outages, and many personal events that have been uniquely difficult for each and every one of us. However, we have survived each of these issues by relying on each other for comfort and support; by being united.
Standing up to challenges and rising to meet the occasion is within our nature, and this theme, which has remained throughout our high school careers, is shaping up to have a spectacularly loud final act.
It is in these times that it is necessary to rise to the occasion.
As seniors, we are looked upon by younger students for guidance, just as we did when we were in their shoes. We have a responsibility to lead by example and help keep everyone safe. It is incredibly important that we take this crisis seriously; with classes canceled, county lockdowns taking place across the country, and a shaken economy, we need to realize that we are facing an enormous challenger, one that can only be defeated through everyone’s cooperation.
As unfortunate as it is to not be able to have our friends over, consider making the small social sacrifice of social distancing for the greater good of your grandparents, your entire family, and your community as a whole.
Turning on the TV makes me feel like I am in a dystopian movie, living a montage segment where the news anchors forecast the end of the world. It’s jarring and certainly surreal at times, and it can take a toll on one’s mental health.
So take the time to make sure you are okay. Make sure you’re mentally healthy, do not overexpose yourself to the news, and above all else, know that there is a shining light at the end of this difficult journey.
Check in on your friends, your teachers, or even someone you may not be close to; we could all use a caring and kind friend right now. All 633 of us are feeling different emotions and experiencing different reactions to the circumstances unfolding before us, so dedicate yourselves to playing a part in making sure everyone is accounted for.
As difficult a situation as this is, always try to find the silver lining. We suddenly and unexpectedly find our lives on pause — but when might you ever get the chance again to pick up a hobby you never had time to explore, read that book you have always wanted to read, do some spiritual reflection and discover something new about yourself? Let’s make the most of what we have.
This leads me to one of the concepts that I believe is critical to one’s success in everything they do: optimism. Now, more than ever before, is the time for optimism. I admit, it certainly feels like the tide may be against us, but when has that ever stopped our happiness before?
We have worked our way back as the underdog with our sports teams, we have clawed our way up in our classes, and we have fought incredibly hard to get to the places we find ourselves. We must be resolutely positive in our hope for what comes next in the closing chapter of our high school careers. We need, now more than ever, good vibes. We can each make sure that happens through our attitude.
We all have many questions, and I expect most of them to go unanswered for a while. The crisis we face today is ever-changing, evolving faster than any other other we have witnessed in our lives. But it is our duty to make sure that, whatever happens, it does not define our senior year. Think of all the magnificent things that have taken place this year: the weekends out on the town, the amazing teachers we have and their joyous quirks, the new friends made in our classes. It would be a massive shame that ten years from now, the mark of the coronavirus overshadows all the wonderful moments we had throughout the rest of our senior year.
In regard to traditional end-of-year activities, I promise you that we are doing all we can to advocate for our activities, but at the end of the day, our safety is more important, and the government will most likely be the ones who tip the scale one way or another. Regardless of how the next few weeks play out, Senior Class Council will work hard to ensure that the end of our senior year is representative of our class’ spirit: vivacious and iconic.
This is not the first challenge we have faced, nor will this be the last. The lessons we learn today will help guide us to tomorrow. What will you make of the cards dealt to you?
2020 is still our year. We are 100% that class. We are fighters, and we will come out on the other side of this stronger and even more galvanized than before. We will come out all the more grateful for stability, our peers, and our school. We have been working so hard to make this year a “Year for Good Vibes,” and we should not let anything, not even COVID-19, stop us from attaining it. Stay healthy and safe, be prudent, and I will see you all soon.
With my sincerest gratitude,