Record editorial: High school seniors are entering an uncertain world. But they are ready to make us proud.
In a typical year, Summit County’s high school seniors would be spending the next few weeks basking in the final days of a momentous phase of their lives. They’d be taking dates to prom, savoring time with friends they’ve known since childhood and preparing to toss their caps into the sky.
Alas, a typical year it is not.
Rather than participating in those treasured end-of-adolescence rites, seniors, like everyone else, have had their lives upended. Schools have been closed since mid-March. Dances and athletic competitions have been canceled. The opportunity to gather with loved ones for the pomp and circumstance of commencement ceremonies has been stripped away.
The seniors’ plight may seem relatively inconsequential compared to the suffering of workers who’ve lost jobs or of people who’ve fallen ill with the coronavirus. In truth, it is, and the students themselves would not argue differently.
But this year’s seniors have earned the same send-off as the classes that preceded them. And the experiences they are missing out on are important, memories that can’t be replaced.
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Like so many of the coronavirus’ repercussions, the situation isn’t fair.
Neither is the reality that the graduates will be entering the real world during a period of great uncertainty. They will be leaving home with the pandemic still raging, the global economy in distress and political tensions in America roiling. It’s understandable if the upheaval has left them (and their parents) unsettled.
One thing remains clear, however: We will not be lowering our expectations for their futures. Rather, we have no doubt that our seniors will dust themselves off from the disappointments of the past few months, gird themselves against the challenges that await and forge success out of adversity.
After all, that’s what they have been prepared to do — by parents, by teachers, by the communities that helped raise them.
This year’s graduates may not get to revel in the rituals that mark the end of high school. And present circumstances in the world around them may be grim.
Nonetheless, they are ready. To charge into the world. To tackle what is coming their way. And to make us proud, in many different ways.
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