The following text is provided for those who, for whatever reason, cannot access the PDF in the link above.
Congratulations! You’ve made it! You’ve rounded the last corner,and are now a member of Centennial School Districts’ graduating Class of 2020.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that forced us to close schools for the remainder of the year, we are looking forward to celebrating and acknowledging your accomplishments as Centennial’s Class of 2020 at your upcoming graduations. I appreciate your creative approach to graduation, safety and celebration under the current circumstances.
Your principal, teachers, support staff, parents, families and the Centennial community understand the disappointment and frustration that you have experienced during this extended closure, and still you have persevered. This is not how the last three months of your senior
year was supposed to go. You’ve missed out on being able to enjoy the final months of your senior year – hanging out with your friends, attending and being celebrated at the traditional senior activities, and dreaming about one last summer before you all head in different directions. You have been deprived of experiences like competing with your classmates on spring sports teams, going on one last field trip and the chance to attend prom. This situation has certainly created a sense of loss and that is disheartening for all of us.
Class of 2020, you are no strangers to adversity. You entered the world at another tumultuous time – when the United States, and the rest of the world, was forced to adjust and change our way of life as a result of the worst terrorist attack our country had ever experienced. Because of 9/11, you were our first students who’ve always had to go through security checks when going to a Blazers game at the Rose Quarter, or have always had to take off your shoes when going through airport security. You came into the world during a chaotic time, and similar unsetting feelings are now ushering you out of high school and pushing you into adulthood. You are used to uncertainty, and I commend each and every one of you, for how you’ve handled these unpredictable times.
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.”
I would like you to think about the wisdom in her words. Life is not an endless series of pleasant experiences. We learn and grow from adversity. We learn about our character, our resolve, and we develop plans to move us forward. Think about what you have experienced over the years, and especially now. You are not rookies in the game of life. You are veterans
with a lot of playing time left, and more to learn and share with others. You are ready to meet your future.
A century ago, the world was struggling to rebuild from the devastation of World War I and a worldwide pandemic. What they learned then is guiding our actions and responses to the current pandemic of COVID-19. How you react and act now will certainly guide our community in the future when the next crisis reveals itself.
I am proud of your dedication and resolve. I admire your ability to face adversity and keep moving forward. While it may not be the ending you had dreamed of for your senior year, you and the rest of the Class of 2020 will always be remembered for the unique way this school year came to a close.
Stay flexible, stay patient, and be ready for your next chapter. The world
needs you. Remember, you are not only members of Centennial’s graduating Class of 2020, but you are also members of the greater Centennial community. This is your home, regardless of where you end up living, studying or working. We have enjoyed watching you learn and grow, and look forward to seeing you succeed in all you choose to do.
Good luck and congratulations!
DR. PAUL E. COAKLEY