The Tough Get Going
They have endured masks on, masks off; plexiglass partitions; quarantines; contact tracing; social distancing; remote learning; hybrid learning; in-person learning — and soldiered on. They have made the most of fall sports that were truncated or eliminated, but returned full force with strong showings by multiple Newtown High School athletic teams this spring. They have received scholastic and athletic accolades. They have excelled in music and the arts and starred in a virtual musical production. They have continued to support community efforts, they have worked and played through the worst pandemic in 100 years. They are the members of the Newtown High School Class of 2021, and as this class steps across the field of the Blue & Gold Stadium on Saturday, June 12, to receive their certificates, the applause should resound from border to border across the town.
This is a class that has shown perseverance and courage, as well as respect, from the final weeks of their junior year when the novel coronavirus first put the brakes on schooling as they had known it for their entire educational careers, through the middle of 2021 when just an inkling of normalcy returned to the hallways of the Berkshire Road school.
Even the Class of 2020, which suffered its own disappointments at the close of that schoolyear, was not faced with the overhaul of education encountered by this year’s senior class. Their accomplishments in a world turned upside down are praiseworthy.
We praise, as well, the staff, administration, families, and friends who found ways to work through difficult situations, to raise each other up, and continue to provide the best education to these young adults as feasible in an unprecedented situation. We are humbled by the hours spent relearning how to teach and reach students who are preparing to step into a future unnerving to some, invigorating to others. The world remains on pause in many areas; to move forward takes brave souls and it is through the strength of this community that the Class of 2021 is well prepared to accept the challenge of accelerating to the next level.
“What next?” is the perennial question for young people as they doff their caps and gowns. It is a question this year with deeper meaning; it is not just the usual decisions of going on to higher education; taking a gap year; or jumping into apprenticeship or employment. “What next?” now holds an ominous tone with the pandemic not yet in the rear view mirror. Holding fast to dreams will be the work cut out for the Class of 2021.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Who has not heard this cliché? Yet, it is apt when applied to this year’s graduating class. They have toughed out a tough year and a half.
The tough will get going. The Class of 2021 is launched, ready to get going on whatever the future brings.
We congratulate every one of them and wish them only the best.