Class of 2020: An unfinished chapter


Luci Valentine

Although Riordan’s last all-boys class did not have a formal graduation in the theatre, it was a memorable event for the Class of 2020.

Michael Gray '20, Opinion Editor

High school matters. Of course, it isn’t the end all and be all of a person’s life, nor should it be. However, it is a time of pivotal physical and psychological development. The things people do in high school can remain with them for the rest of their lives, for good or for bad, and to discount these experiences as trivial is inconsistent with reality.

Take prom for instance, a practice so ingrained into American culture that individuals from as disparate backgrounds as John Mulaney and Cardi B are able to bond over their own unique experiences of the event, which they did on the Tonight Show. Nearly everyone has their own memories of prom, and beyond that, of events such as their high school graduation, Senior Ditch Day, and other traditions specific to their school. These are the memories lost by the Class of 2020.

True, it may not be the most pressing issue during a global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as unimportant. Seniors are still in a state of discord, struggling to cope with the loss of traditions that their parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and siblings have frequently discussed and mentioned. It’s hard to accept that such a definite and final end to childhood lacks the traditional celebration that occurs every other year.

While this loss certainly isn’t trivial, it isn’t life changing either. The reality is that although these events are represented as important rites of passage, their actual impact is limited to a pleasant memory. Seniors are still graduating high school, they’re still moving on to new settings, and they are still leaving behind what they have known for the past 18 years of their life. Traditions such as graduation ceremonies may serve as important reminders of change, but they aren’t the change itself.

For this reason, moderation and context become the key ingredients when accepting the loss of a satisfying end to the high school experience. Seniors aren’t losing essential life experience, but rather, positive memories. Their life path will not be significantly altered. While memories are important, especially when it’s a memory that nearly everyone makes at one point, they don’t carry the same weight as an important life decision or the death of a loved one. It’s ok for seniors to be sad and upset that they don’t get a graduation, but they shouldn’t dwell on it. Instead, they should focus their attention on how to maximize their achievements in the future.