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?
I consider myself an extrovert and thrive off of being in spaces with community. I’m also an affectionate person and love to give and receive hugs, shelter in place has been a real challenge for my mental health in that way.
My siblings have switched to online schooling and that is not nourishing them or meeting their needs, that’s been tough to witness because there isn’t much I can do.
My parents are really hard workers and before this time, they were working double shifts. During this time, they have been spending time at home and the shift has had a significant impact on our family dynamic. I can feel my parents stress daily.
Witnessing the recent police brutality and protests has been weighing heavily on my heart, it’s really painful and sometimes immobilizing. It’s a scary time and the injustice is real and has been for many years and the reality of it all is surreal.
How will you be celebrating graduation this year and marking this big milestone?
I have no idea. I’m a running start student, so there isn’t a celebration to mark the transition from college and we haven’t received the official news from our school about what the changes will look like.
What are your plans for after you graduate?
After this year, I am heading to Western WA University and I plan to double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology to support me in becoming a correctional counselor. My goal is to support incarcerated folks in their reflection, healing, and empowerment as they move through and exit the system.
What about the coronavirus pandemic has made you feel proud, supported, or hopeful?
The Y-WE community has held me and been my number one support during this time. What’s made me feel hopeful is continuing on my path to Western, I’m hopeful that the structure of college remains close to what my dream of it has always been.
What is your message to other people your age at this time?
My message is hold on tight, we can do it, especially if we’re in this together. Community is the answer, be hopeful and stay close to those you love.
Thank you, Fraol, and best of luck at Western WA University!
Earlier graduation highlights include: