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Long Beach High School Senior reflects on past, while eyeing the future

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Dear Class of 2020,

It’s hard to believe that we are entering the final weeks of our High School lives!

The year 2020 is something we have all been waiting for since the day we started Kindergarten. 2020 was supposed to be the year we celebrated 12 years of education that formed us into young adults ready to take on the next chapter of our lives. Unfortunately, our celebration will not be as it should have been. No traditional graduation ceremony, no senior prom, no college commitment day or all of the “normal” things that go with the end of High School.

In ‘vision”, 2020 refers to “normal” vision. But for 2020 graduating seniors, this is as close to normal as it gets! A “new normal” has been thrust upon us -- one which has yet to even be defined. A new normal that has never before been experienced by graduating classes. This is an unprecedented time in our world’s history, and we will forever be different as a result. Why are we, the Class of 2020 different?

We are different because we were born into the 9/11 crisis, we end with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and along the way we’ve faced many personal challenges including two natural disasters -- Hurricane Sandy and Irene.

Hopefully, no other future class will endure the challenges that we have endured. But through it all, we persevered due to our strength and determination. We are special. Even after all of these events, we still had the courage to fight back and proudly show that the Class of 2020 does not give up!

Michael Jordan once said “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or around it.”

That’s exactly what we as a class did! Each time we ran into an obstacle, we figured out together how to over come it. We became a family, bonded forever by our time spent together at Long Beach High School.

Being a part of the Class of 2020 gave me a new appreciation and understanding of what the word family meant to me. When my Mom passed away in February 2018, my first thought when I went back to school was that I was going to be alone in this process of grief.

But I quickly came to realize that I was not alone. My family of classmates and educators gave me the strength to overcome my tremendous loss and obstacles. For this, I cannot thank enough each and every one of the students in the entire High School, and our Class of 2020 in particular, for helping me and my family and making us feel that we were not alone in our tragic loss.

In just over a month, we will officially graduate from Long Beach High School, and we will all go our separate ways. Some will begin their college years, others will enter the workforce, and others will proudly serve in our military protecting our freedom and democracy.

Whichever way you go from here, I can promise you this: each and every student in the Class of 2020 will be successful in his or her own way. The challenges we’ve faced throughout our lives will shape us into the strong, independent individuals we aspire to be. I am truly lucky to be part of this amazing graduating class, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world!

Congratulations Class of 2020. Go and make your mark on this world!

Brooke Yellin

LBHS Proud