Feeling Angst For The Class of 2020

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We are a few hours from me and other Houston-Harris County residents having to deal with a stay at home order starting at 11:59 PM CDT tonight. 

But instead of thinking about that, I find myself thinking about the younglings. The ones I’m specifically thinking about are the ones in the Class of 2020.

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My own high school graduation was 40 years ago, and assuming the COVID-19 crisis has calmed down by the second week of October, I’m eagerly anticipating getting together with my JJ classmates for our 40th high school reunion.

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Hollywood has frequently produced over the last few decades movies from The Breakfast Club to Cooley High to Fast Times at Ridgemont High and TV shows like Boy Meets World and Saved By The Bell that all have high school as a backdrop or as a major part of the story. 

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So when you finally do get old enough to enter high school yourself, you have because of all those different depictions of high school life Hollywood style, all these heightened expectations as a high school freshman or sophomore because of it. 

On top of that is your parents reminiscing about their high school days as you begin to tackle navigating that new world and figuring out your place in it.

But back to talking about the class of 2020.

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The reason I’m feeling some angst for them is because I remember what it was like to go through my own senior year and my excitement when the 1980 calendar page turned to May.  While I had my own challenges graduating while trans, I and my Class With Class schoolmates had waited three years for our turn to go through Senior Week after watching the Classes of 1978 and 1979 do so.

And it’s why I feel sad for the Class of 2020.

Their senior year just abruptly ended with no Senior Week, no Senior Skip Day, no prom, and no graduation commencement ceremony with all their friends and extended family in attendance.

The Class of 2020 also gets no last day of high school to add an exclamation point to the reality that ready or not, a chapter of your life is closing, a new one is beginning, and you’ve  just gone through a rite of passage into young adulthood from your teen years.

Duncanville guard Deja Kelly #25 celebrates with the rest of the team in a 6A final on  Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Alamodome.

For those Class of 2020 seniors involved in spring sports like basketball, baseball, track and field, tennis, wrestling and soccer, the pain is particularly acute.

While in Texas the girls managed to get their full state basketball tournament schedule done in San Antonio and crown champions from Class A to 6A, because the boys tournament happens a week later, that wasn’t the case for them.

The boys got to play and complete one 3A semifinal game in San Antonio’s Alamodome before the UIL made the reluctant call to shut down the rest of the boys state tournament.

Imagine how the 2020 senior kids feel who participate in spring sports that didn’t get a chance to progress to state championships, or who may have been working on historic seasons for their schools when things were shut down.

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If I was in a Class of 2020 member’s shoes, I’d feel a little cheated, frustrated and mildly pissed off about how my senior year ended.

Deep down, my rational thinking self would note the fact we’re in the uncharted territory of a worldwide pandemic, but my thoughts would still go back to we’d waited three to four years for our turn to bask in the glow of Senior Week, and now that’s been shut down and ripped away from us. 

The gut punch to all of this is that you only go through high school once, and once this moment in time passes, that;s it.  It’s gone as soon as you step off that high school campus for the last time. .

So yes Class of 2020,  I do feel your pain right now

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