Dear High School Seniors…A Letter From Rochester Public Schools Superintendent
This year has been a roller coaster and lately, full of emotions for me. I have three kids that go to school in Rochester and honestly feel like I get 20 e-mails a day just about their classes, which is not a bad thing, but it is a lot. And I'm trying to do what you are doing too...work from home while playing tech support for my kids when their zoom calls and videos don't work or trying to decipher the email their teacher sent with the latest assignment. This whole social distancing thing has been challenging as a parent but the news I am anticipating the most is about graduation for my high school Senior. My heart is crushed for her and I sat in tears yesterday reading this letter from Rochester Public Schools Superintendent.
I wiped my tears away just before I joined in on a work virtual meeting, but the note written to all of the high school Seniors really is a note that everyone can relate to right now. It's personal for me, because my child is one of the many who is wondering "What's next?" but the letter truly has words we can all relate to right now.
To the RPS Graduating Class of 2020,
I know you may be disappointed, upset, confused, and sad—this is not how the last three months of your senior year was supposed to go. You're potentially missing out on being able to enjoy the final months of your senior year – hanging out with your friends. You may lose experiences like competing with your classmates on spring sports teams, the chance to attend senior prom. This was the year that your entire schooling was building up to. But it was taken from you because of the global pandemic. Naturally, you may be feeling sad—this situation has undoubtedly created a sense of loss.
We are still holding out hope that we can have graduation as usual. However, if the coronavirus continues to keep us from gathering, we will figure out some creative way to honor and celebrate you. I know that I will never forget the Class of 2020. I'll always remember the sacrifices you are making to protect the health and safety of our community. I believe that you will learn more about yourself from this bizarre experience caused by COVID-19, and emerge from this season with more life vision, ambition, and determination than ever before. Maya Angelou once said, "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." There is wisdom in her words. You see, life is not an endless series of pleasant experiences—we all learn from adversity. We learn about our character, our resolve, and we develop plans to move us forward.
There is no pandemic strong enough to silence you or dent the passion of your generation. Keep your head up and keep fighting. Our country needs you because you provide hope for our future. This year may not be what you envisioned, but I'm eager to see what you do with it.
Rochester Public Schools
Thank you, Mr. Muñoz for the words and guidance through this unusual time. And to all of the teachers and staff in the schools who are navigating this world right now with our kids, I know his isn't what you trained for and it's not the norm for you either, but thank you for showing up each day virtually for our kids.