o far 2020 has been quite the epic tale. And just think, this story is only half written!
As storytellers, we’ve been right there with you for every plot twist. We’ve all met new characters along this journey, and together peered over the edge of more than our fair share of cliffhangers.
But at Steven James we’ve turned our lens to share the stories of the heroesthat can be found in all these tales, in all our lives. Together, we’ve noted how heroes are all around us, and just by listening a tad harder we not only find a little more of our humanity, we connect more deeply to it, to each other, and will find heroic inspiration in the everyday.
This week, our team at Steven James wants to spotlight the story of a very special group of heroes; the Class of 2020and the educators and families who helped get them to graduation day.
Their senior year was upended by a pandemic, and in an instant, the Class of 2020 shifted from in-school to on-line learning. And beyond the academic rigors, these students experienced a gravitational shift in the social scene of high school. Proms and balls were out of the question, saying meaningful goodbyes to teachers were stripped of hugs, and closing a locker for the last time on the final day of classes was a right-of-passage of which they were robbed.
For so many in the Class of 2020, typical teenage angst became depression and anxiety, an insidious parting gift wrapped in a diploma. We talked to a graduate, Emily, recently who told us the story of her graduation “ceremony”. Social distancing restrictions dictated that her family and those of her fellow graduates lined up in their cars along the outer perimeter of the bus lane. One by one, cars would advance to a make-shift outdoor stage. A car door would open, and only the graduate could exit.
Donned in cap, gown & mask they would walk alone to meet the principal at center-stage. Handed a diploma, Emily and her classmates walked down the other side of the outdoor platform, got back into the car with only the family that could fit bearing witness to her milestone accomplishment. No handshake, no ceremonial flipping of the tassel from right side to left, no celebratory tossing of a graduation cap.
The Class of 2020 is our hero, as too are the educators who walked this experience with them, and the families who watched their passing into adulthood happen without pomp-&-circumstance; neither figuratively nor the literal commencement tune.
We want to thank them for showing us that being a hero is sometimes just doing what we have to do in order to continue on, to survive. Heroes don’t need a special ceremony, they don’t require an audience-filled gymnasium, and heroes don’t have to wear a cape…or a cap.
They sometimes have to walk across an empty stage, without applause and yet they keep walking, all the way to the end of one journey, get in their car and move onto the next.
Their senior year wasn’t ideal, but like crossing that stage there was something beautiful waiting on the other side…the future. For the Class of 2020, their potential is unlimited. And just think, we haven’t even seen the best of them yet.
Congratulations Class of 2020!