2020 GRADUATION EDITION
To the Graduating Class of 2020,
In any given year my congratulatory message to the graduating class would be about recognizing achievements, reflecting on the journey through high school, celebrating the memories and friendships that were made and looking ahead to the varied paths each will be taking. With Pomp and Circumstance reverberating from the sound system, we would honor you with a grand ceremony surrounded by friends and family. However, for the Class of 2020 this rite of passage, this time honored tradition, wasn’t to be. The celebratory act of turning your tassel as the Class of 2020 will be a little different this year, a little quieter.
As I ponder how different the conclusion of your senior year has been from those classes who came before you and the way in which each of your handled this unprecedented situation, one word keeps coming to mind, RESILIENCE. Resilient people are knocked down by adversity and come back stronger than before. Resilient people don’t allow obstacles to drain their resolve. Resilient people find a way to heal and continue moving toward their goals. This is what I see in the Class of 2020.
You handled yourselves with maturity when every spring activity, athletic event and the traditional graduation ceremony was cancelled. As the vision you imagined of your senior year faded, you persevered; finishing coursework, taking AP tests and altering plans.
You, the Class of 2020, will be bound together forever. You will be the class who navigated new terms like social distancing and stay-at-home orders. You learned how to utilize a new platform to continue your education from home through distance learning. You developed your written communication skills relying on email to clarify information and convey ideas with teachers and peers. You are resilient.
The 2020 pandemic does not define you. It is only part of your story. Some of you will be entering the workplace in the fall. Some will stay home and attend college virtually. Some will be leaving home for a university out of state and some will be leaving home to serve our country. Sure, your path may have taken an unexpected turn. Maybe the plans you had for the fall have been altered. However, it’s a temporary detour, a bump in the road. Don’t allow such to cloud your vision or change your course. Your path, your story is still your own. You are resilient.
Everyday you can choose to be a better person than the day before. Everyday you can choose to look forward instead of behind. Everyday you can make the choice to continue to pursue your goals. The world may look a little different. Daily practices may feel a little different. Some of the things we are accustomed to may never again be the same. But you are resilient.
If I can offer a few words of advice as you leave high school behind and begin to navigate your own path, let it be this. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. This is where the greatest growth happens. Take chances. Some of your most extraordinary accomplishments may lie along the path of the road less traveled. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is where the most substantial lessons are learned.
In conclusion, the words of author Gregory S. Williams seem to be the most appropriate send off to the extraordinary Class of 2020. “On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.”
Scott A. Loehr
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The Center Joint Unified School District is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals in education. School and district programs, activities and services shall be free from unlawful discrimination based on actual or perceived sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, ancestry, ethnic group identification, gender, physical or mental disability, or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics, or sexual harassment in any district service, program and/or activity that receives or benefits from state financial assistance. The district shall promote programs, which ensure that unlawful discriminatory practices are eliminated in all school and district activities.