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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jun. 3, 2020 8 months ago

West Orange High School Class of 2020: The best is yet to come

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Whatever next year brings, the Class of 2020 will face it head on, and we will persevere no matter what.

By Rachel Meyers

This year has not been what anyone expected. COVID-19 has interrupted plans and made many events impossible. Seniors across the country were deprived of their last high school memories, and many traditions were interrupted.

However, none of this is what sets the Class of 2020 apart. The Class of 2020 is like the classes that came before us in many ways, but we are also unique. What really makes the Class of 2020 special is the people who are a part of it. The students that make up the Class of 2020 are strong and haven’t let the change in plans derail them completely. 

I don’t personally know every student graduating this year, but as a whole, the Class of 2020 is resilient. We’ve been let down and disappointed by the changes caused by the pandemic but have taken it in stride. Life goes on, and so do we, finding ways to celebrate while conforming to social-distancing restrictions. I’m so proud of the way seniors across the country have come together, supporting one another as we find ways to make the year special in any way we can. 

The final year of high school is supposed to be filled with milestones, but we have not been able to commemorate these moments as those before us have. Classes moved online for the rest of the year, and students were unable to have an official last day of school; the announcement that we would not be returning to school came after spring break started. Receiving the news so abruptly was a shock. I found this hard to come to terms with. Since high school began, and maybe even since middle school, I had looked forward to events such as Senior Walkout and even graduation. When I learned that these events would be canceled or moved online, I was devastated. It was heartbreaking that I had worked so hard during high school, only to have the final days of it stolen from me. I was able to acknowledge it had to be that way for everyone’s safety, but it was still a difficult pill to swallow. I know this was also true for many of my friends. 

However, with the help of the teachers and staff at West Orange High School, we were able to overcome this obstacle. As the senior class president at West Orange, I got to witness firsthand the amount of hard work the faculty put into making sure that senior events could happen, even if it was different than previous years. They organized drive-thrus, virtual ceremonies and even Mr. and Ms. West Orange in place of prom king and queen. I’m so grateful for all they have done, and my peers agree. Despite all of this, it is hard not to feel down about the whole situation. 

My 18th birthday also took place during quarantine, as is the case for many. Missing out on events such as this was a huge disappointment. In general, I think the Class of 2020 understands the seriousness of the pandemic, and I’m in full agreement with the measures taken to prevent the spread. However, it still feels like I’ve missed out on vital moments. I’m sure this is a feeling had by many seniors who have also missed out on important milestones. When I start feeling like this, I look to the future and all the things I have yet to experience. I remind myself of all of the things I have in front of me and the milestones I have yet to reach. I think of the celebrations I will have then and how this is not the end of the world. Each and every member of the Class of 2020 has a bright future in front of them, and we all have to remember that the best has yet to come. Many seniors will go off to college, they will get a job or enlist in the military. Whatever next year brings, the Class of 2020 will face it head on, and we will persevere no matter what.

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