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  • Anjali Gupta

Caps Off To The Class of 2020

Original Post May 18, 2020.

Many educators and organizations have worked quickly to provide virtual learning resources. Students of all ages are figuring out their new normal. Across the country, schools vary on the resources being provided. The inequities in our educational system can be seen even more clearly now. The amount of structure, the degree of asynchronous vs. synchronous instruction, and the level of engagement with students varies. Even within similar zip codes, school systems can differ. Parents are wondering how to keep young children learning and how to engage teens and lessen their feelings of isolation.

Lack of school for some students can signal the loss of a safe respite or meals they can count on. For others, the loss of routines, social engagement, and advice from mentors can be difficult. For the Class of 2020, the timing is particularly hard. It is not only grief for the loss of traditions such as prom, award banquets, senior days, yearbook signing, and more; it is also tough for the lack of closure, lack of goodbye hugs, and lack of expressed gratitude for faculty and mentors and coaches.

The seniors I know across this country understand the notion of gratitude. They did not get through high school without a level of resilience. They are aware of the difficulties in the world right now and concerned appropriately not only for their family and friends but also for their larger communities and the broader world. Having said that, whether they are seniors in high school or in college, they are allowed their feelings of loss. It is okay as adults to acknowledge their emotions and appreciate these unexpected circumstances. Isn't that what empathy looks like?

My inspiration from the community today is THE CLASS OF 2020. Hats (or rather caps) off to all of you across this country, whether you are graduating high school or college, for taking this in stride. It is human to have feelings. It is natural to feel disappointment. This spring is not what you or any of us anticipated for you. THANK YOU for your resilience, your optimism, your concern for others, your gratitude, your leadership, and your service through this. From parents and schools everywhere, thank you for all the moments over the last four years that you have given to so many around you. We will get through this pandemic, and you will do great things to come!

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