A Letter to the Class of 2020


Photographer from the Class of 2020

The Class of 2020 at Pep Rally.

Wesley Shoemaker

Dear Class of 2020,

Just like the rest of you, recently I have spent my time at home away from school, away from my friends, but most importantly, away from the senior year that we had all hoped would be the best year of our lives.   

Four years ago, when we stepped foot into high school, we had no idea what to expect. We were still kids, innocent, unsure of what high school would bring. We were in a new situation, outside of our comfort zone, in a school filled with thousands of strangers. Soon though, strangers became friends and all those insecurities that we had about high school passed. 

We have grown up in a time of uncertainty but necessary change. Most of us were  born in either 2001 or 2002. Our parents experienced the events that unfolded on September 11, 2001 just as we were being born and we were left with the aftermath. By the time we were around seven, we had our first black President, the iPhone (a portable computer) was starting to grow in popularity, and technology was becoming a part of our daily lives.

By the time we were in middle school, we were dealing with the threats of school shootings.  We began to learn the protocol for lockdowns, and it seemed like second nature. In high school, lockdowns seemed normal, and all the new technology seemed like a thing of yesterday. Everything that was good was now changing. 

It has taken fourteen years to get to this point, and so much has happened along the way. The path to our current lives has been paved with adversity. That adversity though, is what makes us different.

If you look up adversity in a dictionary it can be defined as a difficult or unpleasant situation. 

To me, high school is all about facing adversity. High school is full of trials that teach you how to learn, how to fit in socially, all while becoming an adult.

We had been told that the spring months of senior year were to be the most fun. Classes were about to end, we were choosing where to go for the next chapter of our lives, we would get to graduate, go to prom, and have one last time to make memories with the people we grew up with.

But as we all know that is not the case for us, the class of 2020. We have been robbed of our senior year.

 On March 11, 2020 when I left school, I thought I would be coming back four days later. Instead, that day was the last day of school for myself and the rest of the Eleanor Roosevelt High School Class of 2020. When we walked out of the building that day, we celebrated in the parking lot not knowing what tomorrow would hold. We celebrated the four-day break and thought we would see all of our friends and teachers again. Then two days later many of us celebrated again. 

Another “spring break” as the state of Maryland announced it would be closing for the next two weeks. Soon enough however, reality soon started to set in. As the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise, our hopes of what our senior year would be started to fall. 

Many people began to wonder how long we would be stuck at home, and this “spring break” started to feel less like a break and more like torture. We were kept inside away from other people, away from our friends, away from our teachers, coaches, but most importantly away from our senior year.

As we reached the one-month mark of staying at home the reality that we have taken our last classes, had our last practices, given our friends that last hug felt real. 

While zoom and google meets became our new classroom, and facetime, Twitter, and Instagram became our new way of everyday communication and seeing our friends, we struggled to get a grip of what our senior year had come to.

Growing up, I have always been told that life is not fair, but why did this part of our lives have to be taken away?

When you think about the best parts of growing up, you think about the memories with your friends but most importantly you think about your high school graduation. Graduation caps off your childhood. It marks a new beginning in your life, new adventures, and it signifies becoming an adult and growing up. So rather than complaining about what we missed we have to face the adversity that is present in our everyday lives. When the world is safe again it will be different. 

We, the Class of 2020 are shaping what this new normal will look like.

While it is not fair that we were robbed of so much, we can face this adversity and be better because of it. 

Like most of you, I agree nothing will compare or take away any amount of pain that comes from missing our graduation, and other senior year events, but even when we get knocked down the hardest, or have the worst days we can always learn something. 

What we can all take away is that tomorrow is never guaranteed. We can’t control the past, and we can’t control the future we can only control today. We can control our attitudes, our work ethic, our decisions. We can treat every day like it is the last day we have because the one thing we have learned is that nothing is guaranteed. We have to treat each day like it is the most important day of our life because if we take something for granted it could all be gone tomorrow. This feeling of helplessness, this feeling of sadness that we all share with each other will not go away, but if we all try our best to live each day to our fullest potential, we can change the world for the better.

So, thank you 2020 for the memories over the last three and a half years. Whether it is the clubs, sporting events, amazing teachers, amazing friends, late nights, early mornings, and everything in between that made our high school years so special all we can do is look back and smile. 

Smile at the good times and appreciate what we had. I know this sucks, and I know we all want it to be over and we want our senior year back because we earned it and no one can take what we have done away from us. 

So, here’s to the Class of 2020: the class that will and has changed the world.


Thank You,

Wesley Shoemaker, Class of 2020