Entering a world full of new challenges

Congratulations to the class of 2020!  You earned it! 

When you started kindergarten, no one could have predicted that your senior prom would be cancelled.  When you started your senior year last fall, no one could have predicted that your graduation ceremony would have been cancelled.  In fact, everything was on track up until about two months ago – when everything came to crashing halt in America.

For most seniors when they graduate there is a certain level of fear.  Most of the fear comes from the questions “What’s next in my life?”  or “what do I do now?”  After years of school with parents, teachers, advisers and peers telling you what to do and when to do it, a world without guideline can be scary.  In the past those fears were often dwarfed by the feeling of excitement about having your whole life ahead of you.

This year there is more fear and uncertainly that there is excitement.

COVID-19, also known as the CoronaVirus, has changed nearly everything in everyday life.  Most of America, as I write this, are under a stay at home order.  Many businesses are closed, and a record number of people are applying for unemployment nationwide.

We all are, or should be, practicing #socialDistancing.  Getting groceries or food has become the hunger games.

With infection rates skyrocketing in a way that we have never seen in even the worse situations – such as war, many people are afraid of catching the virus and dying.   Some could argue that the future, either short term or long term, looks bleak at best.

However, you are an American and Americans of the past have overcome devastating struggles.  That means you can overcome this pandemic and survive because you are the future of America and overcoming challenges are in your ancestry.

During the Civil war, every life was interrupted with war in people’s own states, communities, even their own back yards.

Circa 1918-1919 over a third of the word was infected with the Spanish Flu during the pandemic of that time.  In America over 675 thousand Americans lost their lives.

September 4. 1929 was the beginning signs of the great depression in America.  October 29. 1929 – Black Tuesday – the global start of the depression.  At the worst point in our country, Unemployment was nearly 25% at the end of 1933.

During world war II American had many shortages due to the war efforts.  There was also rationing that Americans had to endure and of course blackout drills that re-enforced the fear that the war could hit us at home – and it did when Pearl harbor was attacked.

In every situation, your ancestors, Americans like yourself, endured, survived and eventually thrived once again.

Sure, we have seen some businesses drastically scale back and some completely close with no guarantee they will ever return.  We have also seen some businesses take off.  For example, Zoom, the video conferencing software) that was growing at a good rate soared in the month of March.  We have seen businesses like Grub Hub, Uber Eats and Doordash not only surviving but thriving from the impacts of stay at home orders.

Just like the aforementioned companies, I am confident that each graduate – as well as every American – will find ways to thrive through this current pandemic and afterwards.

You, the graduating class of 2020, are fresh out of school full of new ideas and training that can help American not only survive this pandemic but thrive.

I fear that it will be a tough road for the foreseeable future.  All I can tell you is to hang in there and work hard.  You are the future of America and you can help shape the new normal that we will all be living in after the pandemic is over, into something greater than we have ever seen before.

You are appropriately called the class of 2020 (20/20 is the measurement for perfect vision) because your vision for the future may be the perfect solution to the problems we are facing today.