“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look
so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” —Helen Keller
No one ever said life was fair—or easy. The Class of 2021 might know that better than most. When Gov. Ralph Northam shuttered schools on March 13, 2020 (Friday the 13th), everyone thought it would be for only two weeks and everything would get back to normal. The coronavirus pandemic had other plans. Schools in Virginia did not reopen in spring 2020 and schools turned on a dime to create virtual curriculums for its students.
Juniors at that time, those in the Class of 2021, watched as their senior friends did not have a prom, an in-person graduation with family and friends able to attend or a spring sports season—track and field, baseball, softball and soccer had no season in 2020.
Greene County Public Schools worked diligently all summer to craft a mitigation plan so that schools could safely open in the fall. Gone were the days of meeting friends in the hallway or for lunch as there were as few classroom changes as possible and high-schoolers only attended two days per week. But, Greene was able to open on Sept. 8, and with only a few COVID-19 cases throughout the entire year, all the schools were able to remain open.
Both boys and girls basketball seasons were cut short in postseason due to coronavirus exposures and football—which was held in the spring—was cut just halfway through their season.
Last Saturday was the celebration of all the challenges the Class of 2021 overcame—as well as their families. It was hot, but not a cloud in the sky, and even though the students wore masks you could see the smiles through their eyes. Families and friends were permitted to attend with no limit on the number invited.
You did it. You overcame so much to get to the point of high school graduation and everyone is so proud.
Parents sometimes attempt to ease transitions for children, trying to keep everything fair and balanced. But, that’s not how life is. Despite parents’ best efforts, these young men and women had to do it on their own and oftentimes it wasn’t on even ground to others in their classes. Our expectations of happiness, of how life should be, can keep us from moving forward to something greater.
We congratulate all of you and hope you never forget you can overcome anything by looking away from that closed door and toward the one that has opened for you.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible.’”