When we first walked into the school building as freshmen and put on our gray “We are #1 (Class of 2021)!” t-shirts, there was a lot we couldn’t anticipate.
To address the elephant in the room — yes, one of those unanticipated things was the pandemic. And, to be sure, the pandemic has had an immense and undeniable impact on our four years at W-L and our lives; anyone would be remiss to ignore it.
But there were other unanticipated things besides the virus. We didn’t know how hard we’d have to study in our hardest classes. Some of us didn’t anticipate making varsity in our sport, or how it felt to do so. We didn’t know how it would feel to get behind the wheel of a car for the first time, clock in at our first job, or score our first internship.
Amongst the important milestones, there were small moments of growth sprinkled throughout the past four years. We got our first tastes of failure and success, and learned to be more social or to take extra time for ourselves. For me, my little milestones came from minute-long conversations during lunch, or an after-school coffee from Philz. For others, they came from cooking with family, or a Mario Kart club. These were just as significant as those stereotypical “coming of age” moments, if not more so.
I think we should recognize how we’ve overcome, grown from or lost during the big milestones — graduation, entering adulthood and the pandemic — but we don’t need to be defined by those huge events and our losses. Instead, we can remember the small instances of growth, the ones that subtly shaped our personalities and our priorities, because those reflect the most about us as individuals. We can congratulate and thank each other for forming deep friendships, being resilient and supporting one another from freshman to senior year. So, as we graduate, I don’t want to send us off as seniors who spent half of our high school years in a pandemic. Instead, I hope we can take this time to honor our growth, in huge or little forms, and remember that as the class of 2021, we are an exemplary group of seniors whose achievements, progress and bravery are impossible to define in just a 400-word editorial.