Letter: Don’t give up on Class of 2020 | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Don’t give up on Class of 2020

I wanted to write to you today concerning the Steamboat Springs High School graduating Class of 2020. As a parent of two high school students, I fully appreciate and applaud the effort of the teachers, administrators and all the faculty of Steamboat Springs High School have made over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ve been nothing short of amazing.

With that being said, I challenge you again to not cave into the “rest of the country” with a virtual graduation. The Class of 2020 seniors are getting robbed of their final months in a critical part of their lives. No senior prom, no senior awards or acknowledgements, no scholarship presentations, no Pio Luau, no senior letters, no sharing of college acceptances, no last high five from their teammates as they walk away from their high school athletic or scholastic career, no seeing their friends for the last time in class, no senior send-off as they run through the halls. 

And worst of all, possibly no graduation — the final act of accomplishment before moving on to what the future holds for them.

Some of the Class of 2020 have worked since kindergarten to be the best academically. Some have worked to be the first person to graduate in their family. Some have worked to be accepted into college or the military and will serve our country. Others have plans to work in their family’s business, go on to learn a trade or stay and contribute to our wonderful town. 

None of this will be acknowledged if you cancel graduation. Quite honestly, none of it will be acknowledged if you do a virtual graduation. What does that say to a class who has weathered their principal being placed on paid administrative leave, an investigation at their school and now a pandemic? 

I understand these issues might seem trivial during this time when others are dealing with financial and health issues; however, when you are 18, these are important issues and the students should have the right to talk about what they are dealing with. Not having anything to look forward to when you had so much to look forward to, is not mentally healthy for anyone. 

I implore you, Steamboat Springs High School teachers, administration and school board do not make a quick decision too early. I understand you are bound by what the state mandates, but why not wait and see what that looks like closer to the current graduation date of May 30? Making these snap decisions 45 days out (such as a virtual graduation), when none of us have any idea of what’s to come, feels like “the easy way out.” 

We teach our children and students the easy way is not always the right way. Please do not make the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2020 just a line item on your agenda. If necessary, delay activities but don’t give up on the Class of 2020. These students deserve more. Thank you.

Teresa Harrison

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