Record editorial: 2021 graduates persevered through high school and a pandemic
Summit County’s high school seniors have made it.
North Summit and South Summit high schools held their commencement ceremonies last week, while Park City High School will fete its graduates on Thursday.
Every student donning a cap and gown this spring has a lot to be proud of. In addition to the typical demands of high school — turning assignments in on time, applying to colleges, maneuvering through the tricky world of being a teenager — this year’s graduates also had to overcome the challenges brought on by a pandemic that defined the final year-plus of their adolescence.
While there are well-founded concerns about the long-term effects of the pandemic on students’ education and mental wellness — impacts that will become clearer over time, in Summit County’s three school districts and elsewhere — this year’s graduates also received a crash course in valuable skills that will hopefully serve them well in the next stages of their lives: resiliency, adaptability, perseverance.
It’s a good thing, too, because the world the Class of 2021 is entering is ever-changing and complicated, and navigating it won’t always be easy. In addition to continuing to grapple with the worst health crisis in a century, our society is facing a litany of challenges, from political polarization to rising inequality to climate change, that will define the coming decades.
This year’s graduates are not only going to be personally affected by those issues, they will be part of a generation tasked with solving them. Fortunately, after earning their diplomas amid the upheaval of a pandemic, they will head beyond the borders of Summit County knowing full well they can do hard things.
Given that, as well as the foundations the graduates have built over the course of their educational careers, they should not be intimidated. The community that helped nurture them over the last 18 years knows they’ll be ready to meet the challenges coming their way, and we look forward to watching the Class of 2021 thrive in the years ahead.
As the years pass, we know the graduates will look back at their time in high school with fondness. They’ll remember the relationships, the dances, the sporting events won and lost. And when they remember their senior year, they will be able to look back with pride — because not even the coronavirus pandemic could stop them from achieving a milestone they’d been working toward for so long.
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