To Our 2020 Graduates: Don’t Be Discouraged

By now, many members of the Class of 2020 have gone through some sort of altered graduation ceremony. This may have varied from a virtual format to an in-person occasion that allowed social distancing family members to attend. Covid-19 has really affected the ways in which we carry on with our lives, from simple things like working and shopping for essential items, to momentous occasions, such as graduation and end-of-year festivities.

Congratulations to all graduating seniors. We have watched as you graciously accepted the completion of 13 years of school during challenging and difficult times. Some of you finished out the year with online classes, while others missed an entire final quarter. Either way, we applaud you. We know it hasn’t been easy, but we are confident you have gained valuable tools and insight that will be useful as you embark on a new journey.

That new journey may seem extra intimidating right now. The past three months or so have stirred up unfamiliar emotions and uncertainties. Not only have we battled a worldwide health pandemic that will likely spike again in the fall, but a light has been cast on racism in a whole new way following the death of George Floyd and countless other black Americans who have been killed in recent months. Big things are happening and as we continue to absorb all that has occurred, we wish to encourage you – do not be afraid. Go forth with confidence. We hope that, in some way, the efforts of LEAP Foundation DC have allowed you to find your voice and that you will use this for good.

As you take the first few steps into the next era of your life, keep a few things in mind:

 

You may only be one person, but together, we can affect the future in big ways.

Join the protests, but do so in a way that is peaceful and productive.

Consider how your actions could affect your health and safety and that of those around you.

Be true to yourself and never back down.

Be open and honest with your feelings and find a trusted person to share with.

There are unending opportunities on your path ahead – be sure to explore each and every one.

Never stop learning – take advantage of classes, resources and workshops as much as possible, even if this has to be online for now.

There are better days to come.

It’s OK if you don’t know your career intentions. Be confident in your skills and tendencies. Now is the time to figure those things out.

Spend as much time with family and school friends as possible. Your life will look much different once you head off to college.

Get involved wherever your path may lead.

Get used to an agenda book and use it to your advantage. Cramming the night before a college exam is not a good idea.

And most importantly, recognize your ability to be a leader. Whether you are the mouse in the room or the elephant, find your own way to be the change that the world so desperately needs.