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Column: My message to the class of 2020, 'be the change'

Column: My message to the class of 2020, 'be the change'

Senior year of high school is supposed to be the highlight of high school.

For some, it’s the final year to make memories with your friends before going off to college.

For some, it’s the final time you’ll wear your school's colors on the football field, basketball court or the diamond.

And for some, it’s a year full of moments - grad night, prom and graduation - that cements your high school experience.

After walking down those halls to class, dreading homework (I know I did when I was in high school) and discussing lunch daily plans, your senior year, sadly, ended without a warning.

There was no more baseball or softball practice, there was no chance of pursuing your goals of a state title or a Valley championship. There was no prom, grad night and a typical graduation. Those were all things that I took for granted in high school and It’s disheartening that you guys didn’t get those experiences.

Quite frankly, sorry isn’t probably enough to heal the wound. No words are enough. You can’t relive your senior year of high school.

I was saddened for you all guys including my youngest brother, Marc, who graduated from Hanford West on Friday. I saw the rest of the class through him, as he missed his friends, teachers and being present in a classroom.

My other younger brother Elijah earned his bachelor's degree from Fresno State a couple of weeks ago and was the second person in our family to graduate college - I was the first - and he unfortunately didn’t walk the line either.

If it weren’t for a global pandemic, I would have supported my brothers at their graduations. I participated in Marc’s drive-through graduation and my family held its own ceremony for Elijah. Regardless if they walked the line or not, I’m proud of them.

I was lucky to experience both high school (2010) and college (2015) graduations, so I won’t know how my brothers felt about missing a significant moment in their life.

I won’t know how you guys feel.

Ever since schools were closed, my heart has been with you guys.

And it always will be.

You guys are not the “forgotten” class.

Now that you guys have made it out of high school, be proud of this achievement.

I know it was a tough ending for you guys, but don’t let circumstances you can’t control and an atypical senior year define the rest of your life.

Use this unfortunate experience as motivation and turn it into an unforgettable future.

I can’t predict the future, but I predict no class will be as resilient as the class of 2020.

In a song titled ‘A Dream,’ hip-hop artist Jay-Z said, “remind yourself, nobody’s built like you, you designed yourself.”

Take control of your life and make the most out your opportunities.

Tupac once said, “Life is a wheel of fortune, here’s my chance to spin it.”

Never think a dream is too big or too small.

Kanye West, who was my favorite artist when I graduated high school, said in his hit song ‘Homecoming,’ to “reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud.”

As we’re living through an historic time with a pandemic, nationwide unrest and ongoing protests advocating for social justice and systematic equality, I urge you to be the change. Be the change for your future, your community and the world. I urge you to become an inspiration to the generations after you.

The future is in your hands.

Like hip-hop legend Nas once said “the world is yours.”

The reporter can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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