The Lesson of the Class of 2020: Appreciate All Those Times Together

Most seniors left for Spring Break not realizing they would never walk the halls of their campuses again as students.

“It was an abrupt halt, and we didn’t know it would be our last time,” said Ned Dockery, valedictorian at The Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD).

“I miss having a definite end of school,” he said. “I will miss that feeling of walking through the halls and seeing all my teachers.”

Dockery’s feelings mirror those of other area seniors, including ones from Greenhill School and The Hockaday School.

“It was really sad not to go through the same traditions that every Hockaday senior has gotten to do,” said Mia Weathersby, Hockaday’s elected 2020 student graduation speaker. “When the school was nice enough to move our graduation to early August, it really helped everyone’s morale.”

Although events such as prom, baccalaureate, and graduation underwent changes or cancellations, educators worked to help seniors feel special in these unusual times.

“Our faculty is trying really hard to make us have the best graduation events possible,” Greenhill senior Haley Lieberman said.

For example, Greenhill, ESD, and Hockaday had seniors decorate cars and parade through campus parking lots.

“[Hockaday] did an amazing drive through graduation that I think a lot of people left with tears in their eyes just by how much work went into it and how thoughtful it was,” Weathersby said. “I think they did a really good trying to recreate the last three months for us the best they could.”

The efforts teachers put in to make distanced learning work, also didn’t go unnoticed.

“I think that it’s great that our teachers made the most of the situation and continued to teach well,” Dockery said. “It is obviously a lot more natural in person, but I am just glad we did what we could.”

Dockery, Weathersby, and Lieberman said they head off to college with new outlooks because of 2020.

“Sometimes we get bogged down at school, but I will just try to remember how much I appreciate going to those classes and learning the material,” Dockery said.

Weathersby added, “Every person in every grade lost something, but especially seniors.

“It was our ‘victory lap’ and it got taken away a lot sooner than we thought,” she said. “Going into college, I am going to try to appreciate, the best I can, the next four years because all of this showed us that everything can go away in an instant.”

Graduations Delayed: Ursuline Academy of Dallas – June 28; Parish Episcopal School – June 28; The Episcopal School of Dallas – July 18; Greenhill School – July 20 (July 24 backup); Shelton School – July 25; St. Marks’s School of Texas – July 31; The Hockaday School – Aug.1

See more commencement coverage in the August issue.

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