I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a senior this year. You gave up your junior prom and your senior homecoming, your senior sports and activities were either nonexistent or without much for fans, and you still may possibly lose your senior prom and graduation. None of it has happened or will happen in the way you imagined.
We asked you to give up one of the best years of your life for everyone else. How could anyone ever call your generation selfish and self-centered again? Your generation was possibly asked to give up more than any other generation in this pandemic. We asked the elderly to isolate in their homes to save themselves, some business owners lost their businesses, and you gave up your last, most memorable year of childhood. We asked so much of you.
I haven’t forgotten you or what we’ve asked you to give up this past year for all of us.
I know for some of you who walked out that door on Friday the 13th last March, you will now never return there for school as you’ll finish out your high school career online. You didn’t even know to say goodbye, to treasure that last walk through those halls.
Though I know one day, high school and even senior year will be just a little blip in time that gets lost with all the other great monumental moments in your life that are to come, I also know that up until now this was supposed to be the big, culminating event of your whole childhood.
Instead, your childhood abruptly died without warning, and we thrust you into adulthood and the burden of weight that comes with it. As adults have squabbled about every little thing this past year, you have shown us you—the youngest generation of us all—can do hard things.
Please, don’t let this past year destroy your hope for what’s to come. I hope you go out there and create your own version of greatness because I’m sure if you’ve seen anything in this past year, you’ve seen how much we need your generation. We need change and the generations ahead of you are in need of someone to come be the change we can’t seem to provide.
As a teacher of this generation, I truly believe you can be the change we need.
You’ve already shown us you have the grit to be it. You’ve learned firsthand this past year how it’s in our hardest, toughest moments when we grow the most. You have grown wise beyond your years this past year as we thrust you into an adult world full of conflict and uncertainty.
The story of the role you will play in the future began this past year with the abrupt ending of your childhood story. After this hellish start, it may feel like you have little control or power but you do. The future is still yours. Remember you are the writers of the next chapter of this country’s story. You may not control all the plot events that will unfold, but you do control your character in how you handle the plot twists of your generation’s story.
I know how hard it is to let dreams go, and the senior year you once imagined is now a lost dream. But I believe in your new dreams and the future you’re going to work to create. We’ve put so much on your young shoulders already, but the greatest things are often born from our toughest moments and I believe the greatness that was born from this moment was in what your generation will now become.