July 26, 2021
Reflecting on the Class of 2025
It seems a little strange to be standing on stage, inside, addressing a crowd of this size. It has been over a year since we have seen anything in this world, certainly in school, resembling something close to normal.
From entirely virtual to hybrid to five days a week in school, every day. Still wearing masks, still some kind of social distancing, no play performances, no trips, no games, no special events.
I am not sure if we could have asked for anything more from our students, let alone, this eighth-grade class.
I am not sure I could have asked for anything more from this faculty. They worked tirelessly to deliver lessons to students at home, in person, and, in many cases, some combination of both. It was new for everyone; there was no playbook, no experience to dig out of the past, no manual, and no expert to ask for advice. We were in this together at times, spinning our wheels. Recklessly out of control, only to take our foot off the gas pedal to navigate what was actually in front of us. And it worked. With patience, many, many hours of frustration, trial and error, and your feedback as students. We made the best of what was before us, and it would not have worked without the support, encouragement, and patience from you, your teachers, and your parents.
When you did return in some form of, in person, you embraced it. Sometimes, we needed to remind you just how far six feet apart really is. You didn’t like it—it’s not what our school is all about—it was not natural. But you adjusted.
You made the best of each day as if it was always this way. You adapted better than anyone could have hoped, and you excelled in every way possible with every opportunity presented to you.
You were positive, enthusiastic, and cooperative. You knew what this year was—and I know you weren’t thrilled. You were realistic in your expectations, and you made it work.
Instead of complaining and making things worse, you made things better. We all thank you for that.
One day you will look back on this as a blip on the radar. It was eighth grade, not your senior year. There would have been an eighth-grade formal, not your senior prom. You missed your Middle School field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse seasons, but not your last experience playing on a varsity team for GCS. You missed your eighth-grade trip, not Beach Week.
Still, it was disappointing, and I’m not minimizing that. Maybe when we all look back, we will appreciate more the things we have, the opportunities we are presented with, and the friends we have missed and are reconnecting with now.
We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel now. We made it through together, and it was a long dark tunnel. It’s not how we started; it’s how we finished that matters the mos. And we finished strong!
Thank you again for being who you are, showing resilience and determination. You will all be stronger as you showed patience and perseverance to push through this. If you made it through this last year and a half, you should have the confidence to know you can handle anything that comes your way. Congratulations!