Class of 2020, 1 – Pandemic, 0
Keeping score as school ends – the kids won
Whatever phrase you use to describe the spring of 2020 – the new normal; these unprecedented times; these uncertain times – these are lousy times. Sometimes.
There’s been plenty of disappointment – the loss of sports seasons, plays, concerts, get-togethers and end-of-year traditions. But there’s also been an amazing show of flexibility and optimism by the class of 2020.
And that’s what will define this graduating class: resilience.
My own kid wrapped up her senior year in front of a computer in the room next to where I’m sitting instead of in class with her friends. She, her friends, and kids everywhere seemed to be able to make the best of an unexpected situation by coming up with creative solutions.
The pandemic isn’t over yet, but this school year is. After watching it all unfold, I’m calling this one as a victory for the kids.
Let’s take a look at the replay.
Pandemic: “Go home, school is closed.”
Class of 2020: “Yay! Wait, what?”
Laptops charged, they jumped into distance learning without skipping a beat. All the credit to their teachers and administrators, who created new curricula with no notice, showed infinite patience and went far beyond what they likely anticipated the job would entail. It’s what teachers do. But also, hats off to the students who logged-on and engaged.
Pandemic: “You can’t see your friends.”
Class of 2020: “Tom Nook sends his regards.”
When the stay-at-home executive order was enacted, video chats were certainly common enough. Now, though, they’re as routine as making a phone call or sending a text. – and not just for work or distance learning. Marathon Zoom meet-ups are allowing kids to get together virtually, and late-night gaming sessions have replaced closing down Friendly’s (or your eatery of choice that’ll hold a booth full of high school kids.) In our house, the Animal Crossing video game has brought kids together most nights. I’ll hear the familiar music, I’ll see Tom Nook – the island loan shark/kneecapper – she’ll shut the door for a little privacy, and then it’s just laughter until well after midnight.
Pandemic: “No prom for you.”
Class of 2020: “Hold my large mocha ice with extra, extra sugar.”
Students didn’t get to dress up and go out, so they dressed up and stayed home. Virtual proms popped up on TikTok, Facebook Live and other video chat apps. John Krasinski even threw a virtual prom on his Some Good News YouTube channel.
In our house, we flashed back to the 80s for a little dancing music.
Pandemic: “Graduation is canceled.”
Class of 2020: “For now.”
The traditional ceremonies have been, at least, delayed. Yet this year’s class is getting to do things no other class has previously. Lawn signs are celebrating kids all over, and high schools are scrambling to come up with unique ways to recognize their seniors. One of the best: The 172 graduates of Kennett High School, in North Conway, will ride the chairlift up to the 2,000 foot summit of Cranmore Mountain to receive their diplomas on June 13. Up to four family members will be able to join each graduate in the ceremony.
Pandemic: “You’re not going anywhere.”
Class of 2020: “lol.”