Graduating high school can often feel like starting a long drive without a map, and with only a hazy idea of the intended destination. No matter what plans are charted by teens heading into adulthood, there are doubtless many unexpected detours ahead.
This year, the route will be rockier and the destination even harder to determine.
Grads this year don’t even know for certain that universities will be open to in-person instruction at any time over the academic year to come. Those looking for work are graduating into a pandemic that has crushed the job market. Those lucky enough to have been considering study or travel abroad are now in limbo.
Schools and parents are trying to put together socially distanced ceremonies to honour graduates in the absence of fully packed diploma ceremonies and grad dances.
It’s a strange year, a strange way to graduate, and for many, it will be disappointing. Even with expanded social bubbles in the last few weeks, the goodbyes to teachers and friends have been limited.
So as we send off this year’s grads, we should take a moment to commiserate. It isn’t fair.
But graduating is always about beginnings more than endings. Students in Langley have graduated in the Great Depression in the 1930s, into the midst of two world wars, and most recently, into the Great Recession. In 1948, the worst floods of the 20th century interrupted the grad dance at Langley Secondary – students headed out in their best clothes to fill sandbags.
The young men and women who graduated during those crises went on to build this community, to form families, to work and play and learn. So will today’s grads, and they will make our community better for their efforts.
Congratulations to the grads of 2020! We’re sorry you had to deal with this – but this last lesson of your high school years will serve you well as you move forward.