At West Craven High School in North Carolina, Principal Wallace decided to surprise every graduating senior by visiting each of their homes. He delivered signs to place in their yards and congratulated them on their big accomplishments. Turns out, this principal was not the only principal to have such an idea. From Texas to Massachusetts to California to Florida, principals developed similar gestures to congratulate the seniors.
Joe’s Perspective: Like these principals, I feel for these seniors. They truly missed out on so much, much of which they will never fully realize. For a moment, let’s pay tribute to the class of 2020 and some of the traditional memories they are missing.
- The final sports season. Ya know, most athletes give so much over 4 years to finally dominate during their senior seasons. I think of the athletes who took smaller roles as underclassmen, just waiting for the opportunity to shine as seniors.
- I think of the multiple someones who lost out on that final role in the cancelled school play or the final band/choir recital.
- Every child remembers their senior prom (good, bad or indifferent). That memory stays with you forever. Yet these seniors will not have those pictures in the photo album, the memories of awkward dancing with friends or the nightmare of pinning on a corsage. The tux, the dress, the proud parents. It’s just gone and you just can’t get that one back.
- The anticipation of the final days at school. 10 days, then 9, then 3, then 2 and then the true joy of that final day. On my final day in high school, we had a water balloon fight in the parking lot after school. There were pictures, hugs, smiles and cheers. It really felt like no one wanted to leave. Contrast that experience with this year’s final days of school. On March 12th, these seniors were given a 24 hours notice to clean out their lockers. Not one of them ever imagined that this somber day would be their last day of high school. It was an unceremonial, “See ya.”
- That big graduation day and all that goes with it. The walk across the stage, the moving of the tassel, the loud family cheer when the principal calls your name. The traditional speech by the valedictorian, the sendoff from that rowdy teacher. The tossing of your cap. That small moment of a proud tear running down your face when no one is looking. Nope, not this year.
- While everyone is probably holding out hope, how many open houses will be cancelled? Man, this is really a cool moment. Even your cooky Aunt Shirley comes for this one and gives you $50 in a card. Your friends come and for once, you don’t even have to help clean up.
- And, these are just the big moments that everyone thinks of. What about just hanging out with friends on a Friday night? Or laughing after practice? Or that classmate you just began dating, but can’t ever really date? Or that goodbye hug from your favorite teacher? Or that senior awards night? Or maybe that spring job that you were counting on to save some money to use at college? Nope, all gone.
To The Seniors:sayWhile this coronavirus pandemic put a damper on the end of your senior year, don’t let it define your high school career. The class of 2020 is a unique story in the lore of human history. No one will be able to tell a similar story. Someday you seniors will be 50, like me, and you will tell your kids about covid-19. They will nonchalantly blow you off and something like, “Ya, I read about that in history class earlier this year. That must have sucked.” But, you seniors will have quite a story to tell. It might be a sad moment in your life, but your life will undoubtedly overshadow this moment in time. To you, I say congratulations. This is just the beginning.
Your Turn: What is your message to the graduating seniors of 2020?