THE MOTTLEY CREW REVIEW
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MY TRIBUTE TO THE CLASS OF 2020
Last November, on Black Friday, I was driving with my daughter Sarah Ann on I-20 in South Carolina between Florence and Columbia. On the radio was the UVA/Virginia Tech football game. We were headed to Columbia for the Clemson/South Carolina game and to meet up with my son Andrew. To my dismay, the only station on Sirius that carried the Tech game was one that had UVA’s commentators calling the game. As a Tech grad and rabid fan, that was pure torture! I almost drove off the interstate several times when things weren’t going well for the Hokies. And, as we now know, the Hokies lost to the Hoos for the first time in forever. Sarah Ann just sat there smiling. I was so optimistic and excited about what 2020 had in store. One event that had me most excited was Sarah Ann’s upcoming graduation from Douglas Freeman High School, an event that was set for June 9. High school graduations, and all the events that surround them, are a blend of powerful experiences and emotions, especially for parents. We hear words of encouragement and inspiration from speakers. We marvel at what a lot of these youngsters have already accomplished and how talented they are. We recall a time not too long ago when these young adults were just infants, only minutes old. And yet, here they are, about to embark on a fresh path. We also recall our own graduations. We know from our own experience that life does not offer too many fresh starts like this one. As we now know, graduation events are one of the biggest casualties of the coronavirus pandemic. That, together with the sudden cancellation of everything school related in March, has been a real bummer around our house.
But enough of the negative. I am here to tell you that I am so proud of, and optimistic about, the class of 2020. These seniors have experienced something very disappointing at an important time in their lives. We are, in many respects, a product of our experiences. We are molded and shaped by setbacks and adversity, by disappointments and failures. The growth is not always instantaneous. But it eventually happens in how we respond and what we learn. Bad experiences, although bad at the time, are really “assets” disguised as “liabilities.” They produce perspective and wisdom which, as I mentioned in last month’s edition, are in short supply these days. Through my own narrow view of the class of 2020, I can tell you this: I am impressed with how its members have responded. I marvel at how they’ve plowed the way forward through cancellations, lockdowns, and social distancing. They are keeping their chins up. They are not complaining. They are finding ways to celebrate and have fun in their own unique way and in any way they can. Personally, I think they are cherishing
friendships and relationships more than other classes who have gone before them. And they have a keen awareness that, in life, everything can change in an instant. Nothing can be taken for granted. How many of us had such awareness when we were 18? I know I did not. For these reasons, I salute and admire the class of 2020. I am so proud of my daughter, Sarah Ann, and wish her and all her friends the best next year at the University of Virginia, where she will be studying architecture. (I haven’t quite figured out how we’ll be in the same room during the Virginia Tech game, but that’s alright. I’ve got plenty of time to figure out what I’ll say when Tech wins.) And for all other members of the class of 2020, I am proud of you and wish you happiness as you set off on your new adventures, whatever they may be.
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