The message below is to our graduating Class of 2020 seniors. I am sharing it with all of you, for I know you hold in your hearts the same hopes as I do for their success. You can see each of their names posted on our website at https://bit.ly/CCSD2020.
Dear Class of 2020,
On a day, much like today, a long time ago, a generation of teenagers filled folding chairs lining gymnasium floors for ceremonies marking the end of their senior year.
They, like you, didn’t know what their future held. They, too, felt filled with wonder and yet also worry about their world. And they shared the same uncertainties and hopes and fears about tomorrow and the day after and the lifetime stretching beyond.
For they didn’t know that one day, after time etched their faces and greyed their temples, that they would be called the Greatest Generation.
They grew up, like you, in a time of economic hardships -- the Great Depression shadowed their childhood, as our Great Recession cast struggles upon many of your families.
And as they graduated, hate, evil and then war ravaged their world. Today’s pandemic and the other troubles of our world do not come close to the terror of that time, when fascism murdered millions and hundreds of thousands more died fighting it.
But our times can be compared in this important way: before you stands the opportunity, just like for those teenagers, to be great in a time when our world is challenged.
You can fight the wrongs. You can speak up for what’s right. You can work hard and then work harder. You can ask what you can do for your country – and your world.
You can be the scientists and the soldiers, the doctors and the teachers, the leaders and the dreamers.
You can be great.
You already are well on your way. Earning a diploma from our School District is not an easy task, but you have accomplished it.
In these last three months, as your milestones were rationed and hope sometimes felt defeated, you defined grit and resilience. You sacrificed so much to protect our community, including those remaining members of the Greatest Generation still with us. And, nevertheless, you persevered: you logged in, you put in the hours, you did it.
Tonight, each of your high schools will celebrate your accomplishment with special parades, as we show our appreciation and pride. Circumstances currently prohibit the pomp of our traditional commencement ceremonies that you have earned, but I hold out hope we still will share those together in July.
I taught history for many years, and it’s taught me that history, so very often, truly does repeat itself. This is your time to begin writing our future’s history.
Face that future with the strength and optimism you showed us you can muster, and be great. We are counting on you to be our next Greatest Generation.
With much appreciation and admiration,
Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools