To the Senior Class of 2020

BuzzFeed, Inc. is a New York based Internet media, news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media. The site recently asked high school seniors from across the country to share their thoughts on being quarantined during their final year of school due to the COVID-19 virus.
High School Senior, Stephanie wrote: “I hate school — probably more than a lot of people — and even I want them to let us go back. These last few months are the last times that I’ll be able to see and spend time with my friends. I want to have a senior prom, conduct a piece at my senior concert, and, above all, graduate on time. Now, I have no clue if any of that will happen. Most of my friends are going to different colleges than me and I also have a lot of friends who are younger than me that I was wanting to spend as much time with as possible.” T.W. said: “High school hasn’t always been the easiest ride for me. I’ve been ready for my senior year to be over since day one — but not like this. I don’t get to enjoy the final moments of high school, like signing yearbooks or having the senior parade. I have to say goodbye to everyone and everything I’ve known through a text message. It’s terrible. I’m ready to graduate, but I wanted it to be memorable.”
I’m sure if you were to ask 1000 seniors across Texas, you’d get the same sort of response. Weatherford High School Senior, Molli West said, “Because of COVID-19, I have missed out on some of the most exciting things about my senior year; like performing in my final spring (dance) show, going to banquets, and attending prom. But luckily, we will still have graduation. It does make me sad that I didn’t know I already had some of my “lasts”, but it has taught me to appreciate what I have now, and to use this time with my family wisely before I go off to college.”
Now that’s what I call maturity in an 18-year-old.
As an adult in my early 60’s, I’ve never really given my senior year of high school much thought or reflection. I’m not the kind of guy who lives in the past. I couldn’t tell you the play we ran in football that won the game against our rival high school…or the score…or who our high school rival was for that matter! But while thinking about this year’s senior class, I got nostalgic, and pulled out my old high school yearbooks and was immediately transported back to 1975-76. What I found there between the pages of the Jacksboro High School “FANG” (the name of our yearbook) was extremely fond memories. Memories the seniors of 2020 have missed out on. The parties, the end of year awards banquets, prom, sporting events, dates, sleepovers, and most importantly…closure. Closure on the final year of twelve years of education. Twelve years of growing up with teachers, extra-curricular activities, friends, plays, the cafeteria, the first twelve years of your scholastic life.
Closure is an especially important and powerful thing.
At Phoenix Construction, we’d like to wish the senior class of 2020 the very best life has to offer. A reminder to the young men and women who graduate in this pandemic year, that life isn’t always fair.
Phoenix Founder/CEO, Kaleb Brewer said, “Sometimes we don’t get to say goodbye to the things we love. Many times, life throws us a curve ball and we are given to what is placed in front of us at any moment. The real test is how we handle those moments…how we bounce back from life’s setbacks. So, we take each day and make the absolute best of it. As you go off to college or whatever your plans may be…take these feelings and the experience gained during your high school senior year, to make this next chapter of your life the very best it can be!”
Responding to BuzzFeed, Adilene said: “I’m class president, and I’m supposed to be the voice of reason. But all I can say is this sucks. We are losing 12 years’ worth of work to a virus. I know high school isn’t supposed to be that important in the grand scheme of things, but right now, in this moment, for seniors whose futures are unsure, it’s everything. And now, we just got that taken away from us.”
Weatherford High School will conduct a “live” graduation at the high school stadium in June. My guess is, there won’t be a dry eye on the field or in the stands. To those who walk across the stage, whether literally, virtually or in dreams…take the words of Molli West to heart, it’s ok to miss the things you “missed”, but use this time to be grateful for what you DO have. God speed, class of 2020! You are going on to great things!
Be well.

(grad photo: Katlyn Don Carlos, WHS National Merit Scholar)
(Photo credit/copyright: Stephanie Cowley-Ringler)

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