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EDITORIAL: A class like no other

York Dispatch Editorial Board

One by one, you walk across a stage or drive up to your school. Moms adjust your mortarboards as a few family members look on, and principals and superintendents in masks direct you to pick up a diploma from a table or maybe hand it over at arm's length, possibly accompanied by an elbow bump.

Congratulations, Class of 2020. 

Graduation has never looked like this before. There's no band playing endless loops of "Pomp and Circumstance" while hundreds of students file into a stadium or auditorium filled with hundreds of family members and friends. No speeches from classmates and teachers.

Students receive their diplomas during a timed, socially distanced graduation ceremony at Dallastown Area High School, Monday, June 1, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

There was no prom, no honors dinner, no sports championship. No last day at school. No chance to say goodbye to so many people you will never see again.

Instead, you have the virtual commencement, a video of each one of you individually receiving that diploma you have worked so hard for. Or maybe your school is putting off the ceremony, hoping that next month, or maybe the month after that, there can be a large gathering to celebrate the end of high school.

Students receive their diplomas during a timed, socially distanced graduation ceremony at Dallastown Area High School, Monday, June 1, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

This wasn't what anyone expected. No one knew your final day at your school would happen in March. No one knew you would finish your classes online. No one knew you would need a mask that matched your cap and gown.

More:York County's 2020 high school graduation galleries

But don't let that lessen your achievement. You've spent 12 years learning, working, making friends, taking tests, building up a store of knowledge and skills that will take you into the next phase of your life, whether that's college, trade school, the military or the workforce.

Take your moment on stage. Take photos in your cap and gown. Take time to savor your achievement. 

Know that all of us in the community are proud of each one of you. 

Northeastern High School graduate Bianca Haas has her photo taken in front of the scoreboard, Sunday, May 31, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo