Written by 2020 Seniors Kassie K., Sydney R., and Grace L. The following essay was published June 4, 2020, in the West Orange Times and Observer’s special edition, Graduation 2020: The Pomp Under the Circumstance.
The Class of 2020. We were born with stars in our eyes and excitement coursing through our veins — despite the sadness and weight the world bore. We grew up with colors flashing in front of our eyes as countless hours were spent in our imagination. Technology flourished, opening a gateway of information unimaginable before. Premature dreams of astronauts, lawyers, doctors and teachers bloomed.
Little did we know the significance we would have. As adulthood approached, an unsettling feeling occurred. We had been looking forward to the momentous event of finally being free.
We never thought to ask, “What happens next?” “What do I leave behind?” Faces we had seen every day were ripped from our grasp, and we were ordered to stay at home during what was supposed to be the best time of our high school career. Everything we took for granted, from prom to seeing a teacher daily, was taken away without warning.
Goodbye, senior trip. Goodbye, many memories. Goodbye last days of senior year. We say this not to fill you with sadness but to remind you who we are and from where we came.
The Class of 2020 was born as the world stood still following the 9/11 attacks. We now end our childhoods in another period of stillness as the world comes to terms with the “new normal” caused by the coronavirus. Do not let this be a burden but an opportunity for us to once again bring hope to a dark world and finish well despite the circumstances. This class has learned to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding us, equipping us with unique abilities that can only come from the resiliency we have gained.
We’ve grown up to be fighters and to always be prepared for everything thrown our way. We’ve been strong through terrorist attacks, recessions, natural disasters and even pandemics that took away the most substantial ending to the first chapter in our lives. As a class, we’ve grown closer through all the trials thrown our way. Our bond is unbreakable. Our quick adaptations to ever-changing circumstances have prepared us well for our futures.
We know full well that we can handle whatever God has in store for all of our lives.