Omnium delet est. Everything is cancelled. The Latin “delet” quite literally means “blotted out.” It also looks a heck of a lot like our English word “delete.” In one fell swoop, the Class of 2020 was deleted, erased. The Class of 2020 has become the Class of COVID19.
The very long journey towards graduation is ending with a loud thud.
From “Pomp and Circumstance” to the “Taps” bugle call played at military funerals. Athletic events, college visits, senior prom, internships, summer travel–all cancelled. Some students describe it as running the first 26 miles of a marathon that started in Kindergarten, only to have it cancelled by race officials when you’re just .2 miles out. Picture it, running friends: race officials asking you to finish those last .2 miles on a treadmill at home on a Zoom call.
Students had ordered their caps and gowns, as seniors near and far waited patiently for graduation day. I’m sure we remember our graduation day. A time where friends sit with each other on the edges of their seats, waiting to hear their names called out. Unknowingly, many graduating seniors had their last day of high school and didn’t even realize it.
The new normal has settled in for the Class of COVID19, but not without overwhelming heartbreak and disappointment. High school senior Lydia Lee shared in a letter published on Fox News, “I felt sharply the sting of a senior year stopped in its tracks. I spent days wallowing in grief over the missed opportunities I worked so hard for.” Dealing with loss becomes especially difficult when it takes place during what would otherwise be a very joy-filled and exciting occasion.
For graduating seniors, the cancellation of school is not a vacation. It’s a reminder of final opportunities with friends and activities that they will never have.
The Class of 2020 represented the end of a schooling journey. It also represented the end of a decade.
Homeschooled high school seniors are not exempt from this cancellation. Final sports seasons, prom, and graduation ceremonies have been snatched away from them too.
Regardless of schooling experience–homeschool, public school, private school, etc.–most high schoolers view their senior year as the most important of their high school journey. “There were senior year memories we were trying to make as we head into the next chapter of our lives that were just taken from us,” shares a Class of COVID19 homeschooler.
The loss of their senior year is very disappointing. Students are trying to make the best of it. Face-time parties and online gaming are just a few ways they’re trying to do that. They are enjoying their extended time with family at home before they are off to college a little later than planned.
Although many events have been cancelled, celebrations have not. Actor and filmmaker John Krasinski decided to create a YouTube channel to highlight good news from around the world. Some Good News recently hosted a virtual prom, and hosted a Class of 2020 virtual graduation ceremony on May 3rd.
I’m sure most of us either have a graduating senior in our lives or know someone that does. What are some ways that we can show our love and support to them during this difficult time?
As a mom who has graduated one high schooler, with a junior soon-to-be a senior next year, I am here to tell you that what you’re going through matters. It’s okay to feel sad, disappointed, and heartbroken. I am feeling those things for you! May this unexpected season provide learning opportunities your schooling could never accomplish. Learning that nothing in life is promised, and because of that, we should make the most of every second we’re given. And hopefully not forgetting that lesson once all this coronavirus craziness is a thing of the past.
I’ll end with some words from a Facebook post that’s been making its rounds. The Class of 2020 entered this world in the shadow of 9/11. Now they are graduating in the midst of the pandemic of the century. So much turmoil and unrest in such a short amount of time. You’ve already demonstrated a resilience and fortitude that surpasses your years.
Here’s to a renewed persistence and perseverance to overcome life’s obstacles. Here’s to a renewed hope that this too shall pass, and how you’ll be stronger and better for it. We see you and love you, and what you’re going through matters.