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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jun. 3, 2020 7 months ago

Dr. Phillips High School Class of 2020: These Panthers persevere

The Class of 2020 will forever know exactly what it means to play the hand we’re dealt with — and win.

By Antonia JeBailey, SGA president

“The Class of 2020 is brave and resilient” is a quote I (and every senior) have now heard at least 20 times — but what does that even mean anymore? When it is consistently used as quick condolence, the meaning of the phrase itself is rendered useless. These descriptions have practically become synonymous with the Class of 2020’s identity, and yet I feel as if they are the furthest thing from describing our current situation. 

Although constant efforts have been put in place to help celebrate the Class of 2020, nothing can truly remedy the losses felt. The effort of others in attempting to help ease this loss should not go unnoticed. However, to believe that these efforts would completely remedy the situation is incredibly naive. This sense of loss transcends not having an overrated school dance or long graduation ceremony — but in a way, it is a loss of identity. When you don’t have the opportunity to say goodbye to the sports, organizations and extracurriculars that have shaped your high school years, that identity is stripped without warning. 

The truth is, the Class of 2020 should not be regarded for their bravery through this uncharted path but rather their vulnerability. The reality of the past 12 years of education concluding in such a detached and isolated way is not an easy realization to come to. Although it is important to remember our situation in the context of this global plight, our feelings also remain valid, and that is important. It is this vulnerability that we have displayed that we draw our strength from.

The concept of perseverance is manifested in different ways for everyone. For some, it may be picking up a new hobby, while for others, it may just be as simple as getting out of bed. The mere ability to wake up each morning and accomplish even one thing should be celebrated. The Class of 2020 not only has found the ability to persevere in this situation but also thrive. Countless seniors across the country have started their own initiatives as a means for bettering their community: making masks, collecting donations and even organizing blood drives. These accomplishments should proudly be celebrated; however, it is important not to overlook those who continue to do their part and stay home — that displays the same compassion and effort to help the community.

The experiences that seniors have faced these past few months will be carried on with them for the rest of their lives — positive and negative. The Class of 2020 will forever know exactly what it means to play the hand we’re dealt with — and win. When we face inevitable setbacks in the future, we will know exactly what it means to get right back up and charge into the unknown. This is what makes us so special: utilizing uncertainty as our strength and power. When you are no longer blinded by fear, the extent of your successes are limitless.

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