When you walked through the doors of your high school on the last “first day of school” of your high school career, I am sure you were full of optimism and ready to take in all of the memories that your senior year would bring. A year of Senioristis and finally getting to claim it. Homecoming. The anticipation of waiting for your college acceptance letters. Senior prom. Ultimately, your high school graduation.
From the time you were young you were told by your parents, the movies you watched, and by your teachers that senior year was your year. It was the year you were all waiting for. It was the year where everything in life was supposed to fall into place. But kicks and giggles hit the fan and, oh boy, was it an incredibly large fan. The thought that your senior year, being the captain of the team you've been on and worked hard for all three years, being the officer of a club, or just being physically present when your best friend has had a rough day has all been stripped away.
If I've photographed you, you know this story. I've always exclaimed to my seniors and their parents why senior year portraits are important. This is a momentous year for your life. Your life is changing after this year and you'll never get a do-over. I've explained why it's so important to document this once-in-a-lifetime year through your senior portraits. For your parents, you growing up will never be easy for them. It doesn't matter how much you want to admit it or not- but it really isn't easy for you either. Nobody goes into this all figured out.
Then 2020 happened. Not a soul could predict this was how your final year of high school was going to shake out. The pandemic known as COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to life as you know it.
I am certain you are disappointed. Frankly, I am disappointed, too. I am disappointed that your senior year has been disrupted and many of the moments you have dreamed of for years are hanging in the balance. Believe me, I know it is uncomfortable and downright frustrating at times. However, I optimistically believe with all my heart that you, your classmates and all of us who are rallying behind you will emerge from this experience stronger than ever before.
You've heard this saying a million times, but I'll say it again. What's k-12 education without a bit of repetition? ;)
You are our future.
There won’t be a day for you to zip up your graduation gown or put on your cap, which is absolutely heartbreaking and scary for most. It seems unfair, and it truly is. But please know this- just because you were robbed of your opportunity to walk at graduation does not make you less.
It absolutely does not mean you are any less of a student or graduate.
It does not mean you didn’t work incredibly hard.
It does not take away those endless nights of studying or editing papers.
It’s hard to go through something so big in your life and not have the proper recognition for it. It’s scary to be the first, and maybe only, that has to go through this unique situation.
Here’s your recognition, while not sufficient, please know that I recognize you and applaud you. I see the hard work you’ve gone through and the time you’ve put in. I see the hurt you have for not being able to walk at graduation.
Your community is so incredibly proud to call you our future. Congratulations graduating class of 2020.