An open letter to the class of 2020

To the Class of 2020:

Thank you.

Thank you for being my classmates for the last four years, for creating a culture of acceptance and kindness, for making the last four years at Carroll the best it could be. Thank you for being so positive in even the darkest times, whether that be AP and final exams or a global pandemic.

None of us saw this coming, and I don’t know how we could’ve. When we dream about high school, a pandemic occurring during senior year is something no one dreams will happen. There are going to be a lot of memories that we will never be able to make, a lot of senior seasons that will never happen. But that’s okay.

Class of 2020, I truly believe we’re something special. We were born in the wake of 9/11, when our country was trying to figure out how to recover from the worst terrorist attack it has ever faced. And now we’re graduating in the middle of a pandemic, an event the world hasn’t seen in 102 years.

This isn’t the first hardship the world has faced during our lifetime and it won’t be the last. We can dwell on COVID-19 ruining our senior year and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can do something about it. We can still be a community and classmates. Our year isn’t over yet, our story doesn’t end here.

I can’t tell you why this is happening, I can’t tell you what the future holds or how we’re going to come out of this stronger. But I can tell you why I believe we’ll be stronger, why our class will use this pandemic to catapult us forward rather than hold us back.

For the last four years, I’ve walked the halls with you, sat by you in classes, eaten lunch with you, gone to Friday night football games with you. I’ve watched our class grow from children into young adults. I’ve been there alongside you while we counted down the days left in the school year, the days left until we graduate.

In the midst of all this, I’ve seen our class encourage one another, lift each other up, love one another and laugh together. I’ve watched us act like a family even though we couldn’t be more different.

I’ve heard people talk about “high school cliques” for as long as I can remember, but with the Class of 2020, I never felt that, and I think a lot of you can say that too. I always felt accepted somewhere.

Those actions are why I think we can come out of this stronger. For the last four years, we’ve become a family. We’ve watched each other go through the hardest times and we’ve lifted them up. Class of 2020, we’ve been something special.

I know this isn’t easy, I know how much it hurts to think about what we’re going to miss out on. I know how it feels to cry because you don’t know what else to do.

But I also know how it feels to smile when you think back on all the memories you’ve made in the last four years. To laugh when you think of all the inside jokes you’ve made with friends. To be thankful that you got a high school experience that makes it so difficult to goodbye.

We’ve been very fortunate these last four years. We’ve been very fortunate to have a class that has made these four years so wonderful. And that’s why this is so difficult, why it hurts so much to say goodbye this soon. We can either cry because it’s over, or we can smile because we got to experience it.

This isn’t where our story ends. There’s big plans for us, Class of 2020. The world is in our hands now, it’s our turn to show everyone what we’re made of.