Overcoming Adversity, Celebrating the Class of 2020
As we moved into 2020, none of us envisioned the impending changes to so many areas of our lives and community, including the dramatic changes to our schools.
Seemingly overnight, students were told on-campus learning was suspended and they would not be coming back for the remainder of the school year. At the same time, our incredible local school administrators, teachers and staff were formulating outside the box plans designed to not only continue providing an education to students remotely, but also working to make sure other basic needs, such as having enough food to eat, were being met.
With their kids now having to learn remotely, parents also had to adapt quickly to the sudden change, many of whom found themselves taking an increased and more hands-on role in their child's education.
The seniors who started this semester with sights on senior trips, spring break, senior assembly, senior sports nights, prom and graduation suddenly found the rug ripped out from underneath them. Through no fault of their own, they would be cheated out of those important life experiences.
While nothing could ever take the place of the missed opportunities, the graduating class of 2020 got something no other senior class before them, at least in recent times, have gotten, though.
They have had the opportunity to learn first hand how to adapt to challenges outside of their control while becoming somewhat self-reliant and self-motivated to make sure their goals are still being achieved. There was no easing into it. If they wanted to succeed, they would have to adapt, improvise and overcome. And, to no surprise, they have done just that!
This year's graduating seniors also had a front row seat watching how adults in our community behave and react to those same challenges and societal stressors. They got to witness the kindness of strangers who find creative ways to help our friends and neighbors who are struggling. They have seen businesses who suddenly are struck with huge hurdles, figure out ways to accommodate new regulations and continue operations. They have also seen the anguish of some businesses owners unable to do the same, similarly through no fault of their own.
As I've said before, one of the coolest parts of my job is to interact with some of our area students, whether as part of the Seatbelts Are For Everyone Program, other school projects or just throughout the community. I've gotten to know some of this year's graduates and while I know there is disappointment in missing traditional activities, the value of education received, not just from online learning over the past couple of months, but in life learning, will serve them in remarkable ways as they move forward!
Although this year's senior class may not be having the graduation they had planned, or maybe it's delayed, what isn't delayed is the support they have from our community, the pride felt by their parents and grandparents and the confidence in all of us that their strength, courage and determination will enable them all to go out and make a positive difference in the world.
Best of luck Class of 2020!!
Sheriff David Groves