A belated congratulations

Robert Maharry
The Grundy Register

If you ever told me that I’d cover two graduations and a prom at the end of June, I’d have called you nuts. Then again, every day seems to get a little more surreal in pandemic world.


In past years, I’ve written a few columns offering my unsolicited advice to the graduating class and reflecting on my own memories of receiving my diploma, but in 2020, even that feels inappropriate. I’ve watched some of the viral video commencement speeches from celebrities and politicians, but none of them really captured the moment or the feeling of being a senior and not seeing any of your classmates for almost three months.


It was best to hear it from the kids themselves. They put it better than the rest of us could: as a senior—especially in a small town—it’s easy to count down the days until you’re on to bigger and better things, whether it’s college, a job or basic training. Growing up in a town of 1,850 people, I was just as guilty as everyone else.


But losing those final days and weeks taught the speakers who took the stage at Grundy Center and BCLUW (Seth covered D-NH) to appreciate every second they did have together and the communities where they grew up.


The commencements didn’t look the same, with chairs separated, hands not shaken and no rehearsal beforehand. The peculiarity of the moment wasn’t lost on anyone, as we were gathering a full month after we normally would.


Neither did last Saturday’s “Promdemic” held at the courthouse square, with parents and community members spread out across the lawn. Nothing is the same now, and with the recent surge in cases all over the U.S., we may not be back to normal anytime soon.


No matter what, though, these seniors deserve to be recognized and enjoy the rites of passage that the rest of us used to take for granted. Hopefully, their best days are still ahead of them, but they’ll always hold on to the memories created during these years.


I don’t have a plethora of wisdom to impart or corny jokes to make about the situation: it’s been tough on all of us, most of all those who have died as a result of the virus. The pandemic has tested the very social fabric of our nation and pushed us to the edge. My hope is that that turmoil will send the Class of 2020 into the world with a hard-earned toughness, resilience and readiness to face any challenges before it. Congratulations, grads.


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