A few days ago I read a social media post about the Class of 2020. I’m sure we’ve all seen a plethora of them. Posts about losing high school memories, artwork of graduates wearing masks, and jokes about Zoom graduations. The post that really caught my eye read “We Made History” in bold letters, surrounded by toilet paper rolls.

I read it again. It was supposed to be funny, and on some level it was. When talking to my fellow graduates we would joke that at least we were in the textbooks now. Our way to rationalize these losses was to believe we made history already.

In fact, the toilet paper post agitated me. I wasn’t upset that we had lost prom, traditional graduation, class trips, face to face classes, saying goodbye to our teachers, and other things we’ve been mourning. I was bothered at what is now defined as making history. That all the Class of 2020 would be perceived to be was misfortunate and actively binge-watching Netflix. All we could amount to was unlucky. That sitting in our houses was considered historical.

Meanwhile, what would make history from this pandemic are the researchers and scientists that create a vaccine, the political leaders that navigate their countries through it, the number of lives lost due to Covid-19 and those saved by doctors, and the men and women who work on the front lines. What is historical are the breakthroughs in medicine and science. The individuals shaping the future will be in the textbooks. They will be what history lessons are about.

That could be us. We don’t have to be in the textbooks as idle victims. This is a class full of smart, driven, and talented individuals. A class that I am very proud to be a part of because of the individuals who make it up, not because of Covid-19. We will make history not because we happened to be the class graduating but because of our future accomplishments. Our benefits to the greater society. This is a class of future doctors, scientists, researchers, innovators, politicians, activists, CEOs, diplomats, nurses, police officers, soldiers, veterinarians, architects, teachers, astronauts, psychiatrists, lawyers, and award-winning journalists.

We will be the class that solves global and national problems. We will combat issues such as climate change and the shrinking of our natural resources. We will mend the bipartisan rift prevalent in the United States. This will be a class that creates influential companies that started in a garage. We will write treaties that improve foreign relations. We will tackle the rising mental health crisis. We will lower crime and poverty rates. Increase access to education. We will find renewable energy sources and then implement them. We will make scientific discoveries never thought of before. There is so much that the Class of 2020 can be known for.

I refuse to accept our legacy as the class that graduated high school during a pandemic. Our successful futures will make history. 

— Special to the Telegram

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