For the Class of 2020-
You will not get to sign yearbooks, walk the halls with the confidence you’ve earned in surviving their trials, or enjoy a graduation party under beautiful June skies. Your high school experience has been a critical time of hard work, coming of age experience, and (hopefully) a lot of fun. To miss celebrating with the people essential to that time is a true loss, a real sacrifice.
Instead, you have been thrust into a situation more serious and more complex than we wish any of our loved ones should face. A situation that your government, and all voting citizens, could have and should have done more to prevent.
That will never be made right for you.
My only hope is that you find some solace that your sacrifice is for something greater than yourself. It is for the health of our communities, for our medical professionals, for your friends and your neighbors. It is in concert with the many sacrifices of people across the world. It makes you a part of a movement that is teaching us, like many past catastrophes, to be more compassionate, generous, humble, and curious. A movement that reminds us to care more actively for our loved ones, and take interest in the affairs of the world. Our connection to each other, for better or worse, has been laid plainly in the fragility of our humanity.
In the next steps of your life, this shared sacrifice will give you something in common with every other 2020 graduate you meet. You will all have a story to tell and a similar shared sacrifice. You’ll know, better than I do now, to celebrate small victories quickly but also play a long game, and to cheer more loudly for others than for yourself. I’m confident this shared experience will pay reliable dividends.
The future is bright- have confidence that you are strong and resilient. I cannot wait to hear about the things you achieve.