Congratulations, Class of 2020! COVID-19 upended your senior year and graduation celebrations. We want to recognize your hard work, perseverance and accomplishments amidst such unique challenges. Over the course of the next two weeks, we are highlighting high school graduates across King County. These seniors participated in either Youthsource or youth development programming supported by Best Starts for Kids. Thank you to the Institute for Community Leadership, Treehouse, Lifewire, Lambert House, Youthsource and Young Women Empowered for empowering our scholars’ dreams!
What challenges have you, your friends and/or family experienced because of COVID-19? Or, what about COVID-19 makes you feel most sad/confused/angry?
This is deep.
I’m more of an extroverted person and have relied on my friends to support me through decisions – however big or small. This time under quarantine has given me more time with myself and my thoughts, especially to process things I didn’t have time to process during the regular school year.
Honestly, I don’t even feel like I’m in school and to be honest, I’m not super upset about the lack thereof. I feel dissociated from the school structure as it was and as it is now. I feel angry that it took a global pandemic for me to have time for myself – I’m a very creative person, I paint, I love to be with art authentically and this is my time to do it.
How will you be celebrating graduation this year and marking this big milestone?
I’m not entirely sure yet. I don’t even know when official graduation is which speaks to dissociation, I know we are having an online zoom graduation hosted by the school. This milestone doesn’t feel like a milestone. I feel stuck and in general, the graduations haven’t felt like a place of whole-self celebration; the folks that are honored are folks with the best grades and then the principal delivers a message.
But to be honest, what I’m most proud of in life has not been experienced in public education. Those moments have been in community.
Speaking of, I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with my community of friends during and after this time.
What are your plans for after you graduate?
I feel privileged to even speak on this question. I am committed to a college in Vermont and it’s a small campus setting and we are still allowed to physically attend. We do have to self-quarantine for a week when we arrive and the ways in which we would usually connect – clubs and cafeteria time – is going to look different. I’m still going to go because this is a new adventure and I’m craving that.
What about the coronavirus pandemic has made you feel proud, supported, or hopeful?
Like I said, this has been a time of self-growth for me. I’m proud of the ways I am showing up for myself and processing my life, thus far. There are fewer places to escape to and that’s given me clarity and space to deepen into myself and my practices – I’ve always wanted to learn guitar and here I am. I’m proud that I have been keeping myself accountable to my own adventures and wishes.
What is your message to other people your age at this time?
Again, deep question. Some of us are privileged during this time to have space to have a safe house and homelife, for others – this time has meant more responsibility to take care of siblings and lighten the work from our parents and caretakers.
Whichever scenario, take care of yourself, in whatever ways that looks like.
If you’ve had to take on more responsibility for your family, take time to tend to YOUR needs too and replenish. If you, on the other hand, have more space/time to be with yourself more – show up and move with intention. Make meaning of this time and most of all – TAKE CARE OF YOUR NEEDS.
Thank you, Greta, and best of luck on your upcoming new adventure in Vermont!
Earlier graduation highlights include: