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Voices from the Classroom: A letter to the Class of 2020 — we are hurting with all of you

Dear Class of 2020,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. The truth is, we have all been thinking about you a lot lately. Every time I open my Facebook I see pictures of senior years past, younger faces put there as a tribute by the adults who hope to honor you. Every time I open Instagram, I see your pictures, read your bios, celebrate the many victories you have had thus far and the many more that you will have.

I’ve always felt a connection with your class. When I first began teaching, you all were first graders. I imagine that first year I was idyllic, wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, with no idea of what lay in front of me but excited for it anyway. I guess in that way we were a lot alike.

We are still a lot alike. This year I entered the world of school administration. Like a senior in high school, my years of school have brought me the confidence to know I could get the job done, and the experience to know to tread lightly into a brave new world.

I want to let you know that we recognize that you are hurting right now, and it is okay to hurt. Your teachers, school staff, parents, and a boatload of other people hurt for you.

I know that you are hurting for the spring sports you have missed out on. I’ve spent my spring Saturdays with you for numerous years at track meets. This was your time to really shine but the world has thrown a giant hurdle in your path. Having coached track for so long, I have learned a few truths: never turn your back to the discus ring, get a good spot along the fence for the 4×400, and that every hurdler, eventually, will fall.

I also know that the vast majority of hurdlers will get up. After the first fall, the great ones have a twinkle in their eye. That wasn’t so bad. The pain from the fall is temporary but the determination to get back up and move forward has long term implications. The hurdle has tripped you but I can see that twinkle in your eye as you get back up.

I wish that I was going to your baseball and softball games tomorrow. The smell of the fresh cut grass, the pop of the catcher’s mitt, the rally cries from the ladies in the dugout. Unfortunately, this cannot be. But life is full of sports metaphors. At some point, you will strike out. Learn from it but don’t dwell on it. And along the way, a great number of home runs will be hit. Celebrate them. Celebrate them even harder if they come off your teammate’s bat.

As much as I would make fun of the music you listen to, I wish I were heading to your prom this weekend. Throughout your life, never be intimidated to dance.

And I wish that your graduation wasn’t going to look way different or be delayed. I have been reflecting on my own high school graduation. The memory that most sticks out was telling the people I loved what they meant to me and thanking them for helping me get to that point. No matter what shape or form your graduation takes, and no matter how long we have to social distance, I encourage you to do the same.

Thank you, Class of 2020. I truly wish I had the words to make you feel better, or even true words of wisdom to impart. You have taught me so much over the years and I can never fully express my gratitude. This is one of life’s hurdles and I’m confident that you have that twinkle in your eye.

Mr. Wright

Chris Wright is the Assistant Principal at Dayton High School. Voices from the Classroom is a special feature in the NKyTribune — written by teachers. Teacher Amanda Klare is its creator and editor. Reach her at amanda.klare@beechwood.kyschools.us

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