When school let out back in March, and we knew there was a possibility that the senior class of 2020 wouldn’t get to go back, one of the first things we said here at the Monroe Journal was that this year’s graduation magazine had to be special.
After all, we can’t control the fact that the school year was cut short or what might happen about your proms, graduations, Senior Nights, banquets or other celebrations – though we hope that you get to experience those special moments when it’s safe to do so. But what we can do is hopefully leave you and your families with a keepsake that you can look back on fondly years down the road with this magazine.
For me, it’s been personal to make sure that this magazine is extra special because I know so many of you seniors and have enjoyed getting to know you and your families over the last few years and be a spectator to your athletic accomplishments. Every class I get to cover means a great deal to me, and the Class of 2020 definitely does as well.
We have often read that the Class of 2020 was born right around the time of 9/11 back in 2001, and now you’re graduating here during the middle of a once in a century pandemic. You came into the world during chaos, and now you are also beginning your adult life under the same circumstances.
Maybe it says something about you, Class of 2020, that you are destined to take the world by storm in the same manner.
I know so many of you, but even those of you that we don’t personally know, we know a lot about you, as a group, already.
First, you have faced challenges – before this experience of your senior year getting cut, but even more so now. It’s been challenges and disappointments that some of us don’t have to face until we are much older, but you have rolled with the punches of this experience and made the best of the situation.
You have stayed positive. You know there are better times coming and that this is just the beginning of your journey. You haven’t spent your days complaining about the situation but instead are waiting things out patiently to be able to celebrate your accomplishments in the manner you deserve – and those times will come. There are so many people who will do what they can to make sure of that.
You have learned through this experience to embrace the good times, appreciate the small stuff and savor every moment as it happens. In my sports column a few weeks ago, I wrote about athletes “playing each game like it’s their last,” and while that exact phrase doesn’t apply to all of our seniors, the message behind it does. Enjoy these days of your youth while you can. Believe me when I say that while you are ready to grow up now, there will come a time when you look back and miss these moments.
This is only the ending of the first chapter of a grand adventure. The Class of 2020 is only getting started, and we can’t wait to see what’s ahead for all of you.