Staff Goodbye: This Difficult Chapter Is Not the End of Your Story


Ms. Johnson, English Teacher

Dear Class of 2020,

You definitely got a raw deal at the end of this school year. My heart is heavy for you: I know you lost out on Prom, Graduation ceremonies, parties, ditch days (Ahahaha, serves you right), varsity games, sports banquets, Honors assemblies, performances of all kinds, and socializing with friends, teachers, and family members. I’m sure there are many other losses, and failing to list them here does not diminish their importance or reality.

There’s a common phrase, “This chapter of your life.” It holds an intrinsic significance for me, because I make a living discussing and teaching stories. Here’s what I can tell you about chapters: they’re part of a much larger, more complex and satisfying work. This chapter stinks but it’s necessary to your personal story arch. This is the conflict that stimulates your growth. This is the challenge that begs you to rise to meet it. This is the hardship that teaches you empathy, sympathy, and kindness.

Your frustrations and sadness are not for nothing. The things you’ve lost do not define you; they are the pains that produce healing scars that mark you as stronger survivors. You are a generation that understands what it means to miss out, and that makes you unique. When the world needs kindness, you will provide it because you know what it is to desire mercy. When the world shows you those in need, you will give because you know what it is to lose. When the world shows you the suffering of others, you will care and heal because you know what it is to hurt.

You are strong, caring, determined, and wonderfully human. Rise past these temporary challenges and hold their lessons close to your heart. You have seen and survived a lot, and are going to be able to weather any storms life throws your way because of this. More importantly, you will help those around you because you will see and understand their needs.

Congratulations, 2020! You will be truly great.