The following letter was submitted by Nelma Lawton of Hillsboro. She is the wife of Hillsboro United Methodist Church minister, Pastor Mike Lawton. The letter was written by her friend, Cathy Roberts, of Windsor, MO.
Dear 2020 Senior,
You are unique Americans. You are the first graduating class to have spent your entire lifetime in a nation at war.
This war is different from our previous wars, but it is war.
Some of you were days or weeks old on 9/11, and we clung tightly to you, watching the news with tears streaming down our cheeks, when the world was forever changed.
Some of you were born during the nation’s recovery to parents who continued to wonder what kind of world you’d grow up in.
Some of you were born to military parents and celebrated birthdays, holidays and your own successes without one or both of your parents due to deployment.
The classes that follow will be the same. But you are first. Your high school careers will end soon and today, we don’t know what that end will look like. Senior parents are hopeful you will still go to prom, to state championships, and to walk across the stage to receive your well deserved diploma.
You are thinking about senior skip days, pranks, and your senior trips. Uncertainty is high and uncertainty is unsettling.
You will be the first (only) class to graduate in a pandemic situation. One year ago, no one would have convinced us we would be social distancing ourselves, banned from travel, with mandated closings in our communities.
This, too, shall pass and your journeys will continue.
My prayer is this. Take what you’ve learned, what you’ve witnessed, what you’ve experienced and create a new norm.
This is a beautiful world full of awe inspiring sights, wondrous sounds and amazing people. When this is in our rear view mirrors, go change the world. Make it better. Dream big. Love hard. Laugh often. Be amazing. Whatever you do next, do it with zeal. YOU are the future. You ARE amazing. You are so very LOVED.