FRANKLIN: A whole new outlook

Editor’s Note: This essay was an honorable mention submission written by Rebecca Franklin, a Dowagiac Union High School senior, in Leader Publications’ High School Yearbook Essay Contest. Find more essays inside the magazine, included in your newspaper today.

If you would have asked me seven months ago what the Class of 2020 would be remembered for 20 years from now, I probably would have said something cliché like, “the Class of 2020 we will be remembered for our vision because we see things coming no one else can.”

Little did I know how wrong that statement was. Nonetheless, I do not believe anyone would have thought we would be in a global pandemic three months into the year 2020.

While the school year continues on at home, there are still so many questions that have not been answered. At this point, we still do not know whether we will have a prom, graduation ceremony or celebration graduation trip.

With these senior year milestones still up in the air, there are still so many things the Class of 2020 will be remembered for in 20 years. We will be remembered for our unity, learning and accomplishments.

As you surf through your social media platforms, you are most likely to see endless postings of fresh news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. You may see news reports, memes or, in my case decorated doors celebrating different seniors in the Class of 2020.

About a month ago, within the Dowagiac community, people began to embellish the doors of their homes with the memorabilia of the graduating seniors that live there. People took pictures of seniors and made collages. They hung their varsity jackets on the doors, and they suspended orange and black streamers from their ceilings. As the weeks of isolation continued on, more and more doors began to pop up online to acknowledge and memorialize the seniors in the Class of 2020.

Days and weeks carried on, the love and support of the senior class from the Dowagiac community only continued. Even an Instagram account was made to commemorate the future of each senior. Actions like these are what the Class of 2020 will be remembered for in 20 years. Social media has allowed us to unify and come together as a class to honor who we have become and glorify what we are going to do in the future. We will be remembered for still being able to celebrate our graduation even through social distancing.

In many cases, people think of home as a place to relax and let go. However, under quarantine, we now have to think of home as a place of work and where we are faced with the challenges that we usually encounter outside of our home. Now we have to continue our daily routine at home.

For us students, we now have the opportunity to do our school work online. We watch videos of our beloved teacher showing us how to do assignments and telling us to stay safe. We complete math problems and write essays from our bedrooms. Students and teachers connect with each other through live meetings. This is where we wave and say hello to each other from the bright screens of our computers. While this is not the most stereotypical way to end a school year, we will be remembered for our unconventional learning. 

Across the entire nation, the Class of 2020 wonders what the future holds for their senior year. We sit in our homes wondering if this is it. We think about how our final year was cut short and how we are deprived of our last memories.

Twenty years from now, we will remember how COVID-19 took over our lives. However, we will most importantly remember what we have achieved. The COVID-19 pandemic may play a pivotal role, but it will not define the Class of 2020. We have accomplished too much, and this disease will not take over what we have created over the past four years in high school.

This pandemic was only a small moment in time compared to our high school careers. We will be remembered for all the hard work we did. People will remember how much time we studied to make the honor roll. People will remember the fun pep rallies and victorious homecoming games. People will remember creative Fine Arts Night and exciting band concerts. People will remember how each and every senior did things that they loved, which made them into the person they are now. Overall, the Class of 2020 will be remembered for what they achieved and who they have become.

Ultimately, the Class of 2020 will be remembered 20 years from now for how we flipped the perspective, how we took the challenge and we made it our own. We will be remembered for how we utilized our opportunities by coming together as a class despite the problem of social distancing. We will be remembered for how we have continued to learn at home regardless of the conditions. We will be remembered for what we have achieved in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.