Dear Class of 2020,

We are your parents and we have watched over three months as rituals and rites of passage have slipped away on you. We are so sorry this happened and also sorry there was nothing we could do to fix it. It is hard on a parent to watch a child confront loss.

We want to promise you that a very powerful experience awaits you, years into the future. On occasions 10, 20, 30 years from now and beyond, you will be at an event – a social gathering, a work function, any random place – and you will hear somebody say, “I graduated from high school in 2020.”

No matter what you are doing, you will stop and approach this person and have a strong and immediate connection. You will quickly realize this person is wearing a badge that you wear, whether they went to high school in Maine, New Mexico or Alaska, and you will understand each other when you say things like:

“I had a role in the spring musical I couldn’t wait to play.” “I had worked up the nerve to ask my longtime crush to the prom.” “I was going to sing a solo at graduation.” “I was going to pitch for the softball/baseball team.” “I was going to emcee a traditional event at my school.” “I was going to run relay with my younger sister; my grandmother couldn’t wait to see it.”

The list goes on and on of the things you will share and exclusively understand. You both wear a badge that makes you part of a brotherhood/sisterhood. You will connect, become friends and hug. (Yes, this will come back into fashion.)

People will respect you for it. The strange thing is, others will claim to be 2020 grads, because it will bring attention they want, but do not deserve.

You DO deserve it. As time goes by, the badge you wear will become a badge of honor. Others will admire you for it.

We, your parents, already do admire you. You are resilient, tempered by disappointment. We can’t wait to watch you make your future contributions.

You are a special group. The world’s needs to make room, because here comes the class of 2020!

Bill Campbell of South Portland is the father of a 2020 high school graduate.

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