It is likely that many high school seniors graduating as part of the Class of 2020 will have as one of their last memories from high school a stay-at-home order from most of the nation’s governors as a way of flattening the curve of Covid-19, one type of coronavirus.
We congratulate them all the same!
Every year, we give the class a name, but usually that name is an adjective that describes the class. But this year, our lexicon does not yet include an adjective for the coronavirus pandemic, and neither “distant” nor “quarantined” speaks effectively about the spirit of students in 2020.
In 2009, this is what I wrote: “We believe well-spoken graduates of a high school are at least one of the primary sources for information about that school. Here we have set out to collect their words—not in a competitive or comparative way, but with a cooperative intent, so that we all may learn from the vast experiences shared by these young men and women who have begun a lifelong journey of discovery and happiness.”
This view is supported by research, too. In a 2006 study, Terence P Thornberry, Melanie Moore, and RL Christenson found that dropping out of high school leads to a greater tendency to commit crime in adulthood. Scientific studies are always finding new things and may refute these conclusions one day, but one thing I can say to this year’s graduates without any hesitation is this: Wash your hands often. The benefits of hand-washing have now been proven beyond a scientific doubt.
So to the more than 3 million Americans who will finish their high school career this spring, I say congratulations, good luck, and stay safe.