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Congratulations, 2020 graduates!

Like all, we wish to congratulate the seniors at the area high schools — Middlebury, Mount Abraham, Vergennes, Otter Valley, Proctor and West Rutland.
In the past four years they have delighted packed auditoriums with jazz, orchestral and theatrical performances; donated countless hours of community service; given their all athletically and sometimes won titles; learned the value of teamwork; excelled in academics and vocational training; participated in clubs; and forged lasting bonds of friendship.
We salute the graduates and their friends and families and their accomplishments with this special publication.
While doing so we cannot overlook the extra challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic — nor can we forget how the Class of 2020 rose and answered those challenges.
For years these seniors had been looking forward to graduation ceremonies under tents, in packed gyms or community centers, marching across the stage to cheers and applause, picking up their diplomas, and then heading off to family parties and Project Graduation celebrations.
And before that moment they dreamed of a spring packed with milestones. Prom. Trips. The final concerts with their bandmates, and the last sports seasons with their teammates.
And above it all they thought of their final high school moments with their friends of many years, sitting around lunch tables, hanging around lockers or waiting for the bus; comparing class notes back in their homes; gathering at one of their places, maybe the one with the swimming pool; or driving out to the lake, mountains or Burlington.

And then would come the long-awaited transition to the workplace, the family business or farm, the military, or college or a trade school, all following promises to stay in touch.
It was all lined up. Until, of course, it wasn’t.
Suddenly they faced closed schools, isolation at home, online learning, an uncertain future, and a global pandemic caused by a highly contagious disease that threatened their health and that of everyone they knew.
They missed their friends. They missed their teachers. They missed once-in-a-lifetime events. They looked ahead and didn’t know what to expect.
But they hung in there and made the best of it. They still learned. They supported each other virtually, and their communities rallied around them with signs, social media posts, and parades.Their shared struggle made them appreciate even more what they did have.
Our seniors, our graduates — they have learned some things about themselves, and we have learned some things about our graduating seniors. They are resilient. They are determined. They are wiser. They are ready for the future. 

They are the Class of 2020.

— The Editors
Read reflections from members of the Class of 2020 at the following local schools:
Middlebury Union High School
Mount Abraham Union High School
Otter Valley Union High School
Vergennes Union High School

 

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