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A Letter to the Graduating Class of 2020: From your high school English teacher

Dear Students of the Class of 2020, 

I write this as we got the news. News that we all knew was inevitable, but didn’t want to admit to ourselves. The school buildings in RI are closed for the rest of the year. This means we’ll be continuing with our distance learning classes. Your prom won’t look the same, and of course neither will graduation. But we, your teachers, know you’ll be okay. We know this more than anyone because we’ve witnessed you persevere and come back stronger than ever time and time again. We see it every day in our classrooms from the calculus problems you conquer to the Shakespeare you discover. Not only that, but as educators we’ve witnessed the waves in education through your class. Common Core State Standards were rolled out when you were in the 2nd grade; parents freaked out (new math ack!) and you grew with it. You took the tests given to you, from NECAPP to PARCC, RICASS, to the SATs. You were in our classrooms when tragic national news broke out, and you were in our classrooms during aftermaths of such events sharing your thoughts, ideas and fears. You made memes their own language, (daaamn Daniel), flipped bottles to new heights, made SnapChat and TikTok a thing, and flossed your way in and out of Fortnite.

More importantly, you made friends. Friends who will lead this country with you one day. And yeah let’s say it out loud. This sucks. You are absolutely entitled to feel upset, you can cry, (God knows I already have a few times!) and feel that it’s unfair. You may not give up. Not now, not ever.  Because we know, Class of 2020, that although this moment in time seems dark, the light you are going to bring to this world will outshine this darkness for years. Despite this moment in time, you’re going to give our society so much more than we could give you. Dear Class of 2020, you’ll run our government, build our buildings, teach younger generations, design the next big thing in technology, solve crimes, create art so fantastic we can’t even imagine it yet, cure our diseases. We know you’ll accomplish all of these things, because we’ve witnessed your accomplishments every day in our classrooms.

So today, and tomorrow, and the next, as you return to your computers to attend class, it’s okay to do so with a sinking heart. But we’re throwing out the life preserver to you. Grab it, hang on and finish strong. You it owe it to yourself and all the hard work it took you to get here. You deserve to be celebrated in any way we can right now.

And yeah, when this is all a memory, let’s have those celebrations loudly and proudly.

With love and admiration, 

Your teachers

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