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A DEFINING MOMENT

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WC’s Class of 2020 reflects on the end of their senior year

The class of 2020: Some have referred to it as “the year without graduation” and “the senior year that wasn’t,” and high school seniors around the globe have said, “It wasn’t supposed to end like this.” Amidst all of the changes and difficulties we’ve experienced collectively in the last two months, high school seniors are dealing with a unique sort of grief and loss. 

2020 graduates around the nation are facing the cancellation of spring sports, year-end concerts and performances, social gatherings, and commencement ceremonies.  There are even more WC-specific traditions and events that have had to be cancelled: the Senior Capstone trip to the Dominican Republic, Gala, Senior Chapel, final House Olympics competition, just to name a few. I asked all of our seniors to share their thoughts and feelings on the impact COVID-19 is having on their senior year, and it’s clear that many are hurting: 

I’m upset, because I didn’t get to leave high school on my own terms.

I think it’s made the whole class of 2020 feel incomplete.

I’m pretty sad. The end of my senior year was stripped away from me in the blink of an eye.

This has definitely been a very challenging time for me. All the anticipation of the senior trip, my senior track season, and graduation seems to have been taken away so instantly. It’s hard to look back at all the training I have put into this last year in order to achieve my goals in track that I have dreamed about for so long.

But what is perhaps getting less attention in headlines and communities across the country is what some seniors are gaining during this time. In addition to the thread of disappointment and hurt expressed by WC’s seniors, there were three equally (or more!) significant recurring themes brought about by these extenuating circumstances: perspective, gratitude, and deeper trust in God. 

It is important to keep a healthy perspective during this. I have not lost a loved one to the virus, nor has one of my parents lost their job. COVID-19 is causing so much pain and suffering in this world, and if losing the end of my senior year is the worst I face of it, then rather than mourning my loss I need to choose to thank God for His hand of protection over me.

It has been a learning experience that things don’t always go as planned, and sometimes you have to adapt to a situation for better or for worse.  In the end, God knew this was coming and we can only know that He has a plan for all of it.

I think it has taught all of us that we are not in control of our own lives but that God is. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

It’s helped me realize I have to cherish everything because I never know when it’ll be gone.

I’ve learned not to take anything for granted and to be thankful for the good memories I’ve had over the years.

Through all this I am learning to draw close to God as He draws close to me.

I understand that this is a lot bigger deal than me missing these events. I am learning to rely on God for peace every morning. While personally I am missing a lot, I am trying to not let that ruin this special time I have with my family. I am learning to seek joy and enjoy moments that the sadness and anxiety could take away. This is a hard time as I let go of any anticipation I had, but it has also allowed me to grow and become a stronger person.

While I am disappointed to lose all that COVID-19 has taken away, I think that the whole situation has given me a greater appreciation for things in life. Not being able to go to school has made me realize how blessed I am to have been able to go to a place like Worthington Christian. It has helped me see how much my teachers truly love and care about me and how much I love my fellow classmates. It is disappointing to lose the end of my senior year, but I have a new appreciation for all the time that I got to spend at WC. I am so grateful for the WC community and all that it has taught me.

Throughout all of this, though, God has been reminding me of the ultimate hope and peace we have in Him as we continue to seek Him in the times of waiting.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting through quarantine and am thankful to have had three great quarters. I’m really excited to move forward and go to college.

I am learning that life doesn’t always go the way it is supposed to.

It makes me realize not to take people for granted because you may not always be able to see them.

God has really been working and providing outlets for me, and it has allowed me to rethink friendships and evaluate the ones I value most and what I want to pursue throughout college. It is hard to be this separated from society, but it has given me a lot of motivation and perspective on what life has in store.

I am learning how to trust God and His timing. I would’ve never imagined something like this happening, but it is, so I’m taking it one step at a time and learning along the way.

I am very sad for the things we are missing, but I hope people learn to not take things for granted and use this time to reflect and prepare for all the good things that are coming. I feel like COVID-19 has given us a blessing of perspective.

The thing I had to realize is that it’s God’s plan, not mine. I need to do a better job remembering He’s in charge.

In all reality, it’s likely that the class of 2020 nationwide and even globally will be remembered as the class that missed out. This pandemic and quarantine may well become the defining characteristics of the class of 2020. And certainly those characteristics are worth remembering and the losses worth grieving, but for the WC community, we can choose a different way—a higher perspective—to think about and remember this year’s graduating class. 

Soon-to-be Upper School principal Dr. Buzz Inboden shares, “I hope the class of 2020 across the country doesn’t allow this to shape their collective identity.” Rather than being remembered as the group that missed out, Dr. Buzz explains his hope for this year’s WC graduates, “I hope they come to see themselves as resilient people, who have learned to face adversity and change with their heads up confident that the God who began a good work in them will bring it to completion in the day of Christ.”

For the rest of us, may we choose to remember more than just what’s been lost for this year’s seniors. May we recall and thank God for what He has done in and through them and what He has planned for their futures. In senior English teacher Al Iten’s words, he will remember the Class of 2020 like this: “Despite all the chaos and disappointment, they have proven to be strong and courageous.  Diligent, caring for each other, enduring all things, they have been quite an encouragement to this old man and to each other.  And they have shown great leadership throughout the year from Houses to athletics to whatever they have committed themselves to doing.  Even those not in an ‘official’ leadership position have been the pillars the leaders have needed to fulfill their responsibilities.  They demonstrate a gentle strength, a quiet confidence, a desire to learn, an ability to think critically, and a steady pursuit of God’s calling on their lives…. In the future you will be hearing about the Class of 2020 and their pursuit of excellence.”

Graduating Warriors: We see you. We are proud of you. We celebrate you. We are confident that “he who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

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