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Graduation Caps
To the Class of 2020
By Teresa Nguyen
April, 2020

To the Class of 2020:

You don't want to see my high school senior photo. pfft. I want to see yours!  

I'm sorry your last year is ending this way, with such an abrupt halt, especially after you have worked so hard to get here. And are missing your friends, both old and new. You are missing your sports practices, music practices, play rehearsals and student club gatherings. 

You're missing your final games, tournaments, award ceremonies, your last concerts, your last prom. You won't be signing yearbooks, sharing the laughter, smiles, tears, the hugs and all the memories those moments would bring. You might even be missing your teachers by now, or at least the chemistry between teacher & students in the actual classroom, and the other building staff that you won't be seeing online. These people were all a part of your academic years...and there will be no 'real' goodbyes, no send offs.

You will miss your senior party. You will miss that last day, walking out of that last classroom, out of those school doors for the last time, breathing in that deep breath of fresh air in excitement for your future. 

Above all, you will miss your graduation. This hurts. It's hard to imagine you not being able to proudly walk down the aisle to Pomp and Circumstance as your parents, family and friends eagerly wait to congratulate you with flowers, hugs, and seemingly endless picture taking and posting the thrills on Instagram. You'll miss the celebrations and parties, that feeling of elation that takes a long while to wear off. This is a very sad reality for the Class of 2020.

All of this stolen from you by a tiny, microscopic killer you can't even see. Too many students of this class have lost a family member, a loved one or friend in this deadly pandemic. The realities you've faced have been unprecedented and so heavy, too much to process for one so young, yet you have become so mature because of what this virus has forced upon you. You are stronger.

I say "Congratulations!", anyway. You've certainly earned that much and more! You've not only learned everything required to achieve your diploma, but you've learned some things the grads of other years have to be resilient, to be resourceful, to show compassion, to be caring, to take a stand and, most importantly, you've learned to be patient well beyond reasonable expectations.


These are real virtues that no textbook or online course can teach. You've suffered and survived these challenging times. You will be better for it and will see the world in a new light. See this as a plus.

Take what you've learned with all of those virtues and, when all this is over, go out into the greater world, head held high, and make a difference! This class of 2020 truly is a beacon of hope for our future. 

Hats off to each and every one of you! 

I leave you with this poem written in 1922, but still very relevant today. Please don't get discouraged. You got this. And never give up on your dreams! 


by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

© 2020 by Teresa Nguyen
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