Mr. Bagwell is a social studies teacher at Scottsburg High School.
To the Class of 2020:
OK, that joke is something that some of your teachers and parents will get but will make no sense to you. I figured that we might as well end this relationship the way it began. 🙂
As you prepare for the next step in your journey, I want to encourage you to do three things — take risks, continue to support each other, and embrace the life you’ve been given.
I’ve loved the opportunity I’ve been given to work with so many of you. (And if you didn’t take any of my classes, I encourage you to do some serious soul searching about your life decisions. 🙂 We’ve shared stories, laughs, and one particularly embarrassing moment involving eggs and shower caps. My one complaint — and we’ve had this talk before — is your pesky reluctance to give all of yourself to a task. As you walk onto a college campus or into a workplace my challenge to you is to risk putting your all into whatever you’re trying to accomplish next. Test your limits — I promise they are nowhere close to where you imagine they are.
When I think back on the Class of 2020, I’ll remember most what a great job you’ve done supporting each other. On the field, the court, or the stage — basically anywhere any one of you was performing — you’ve been there for each other. As you enter this next phase of life, that support will be even more important. It is easy to think as a freshman on campus or the new hire in a job that everyone has everything figured out. You’ll have times of doubt where you’ll think you’re the only one who doesn’t have it together. I promise you that is most definitely not the case but it will still feel that way. Even though you won’t physically be in the same place anymore, you’re more connected than any generation has been. Call, text, email, snap, tik, whatever it is you people do when you’re on your cell phone when you’re not supposed to be. Keep being there for each other — it’s one of your greatest strengths.
Finally, embrace the life you’ve been given. Whatever you do in the future — college, work, marriage, parenting, go after it with everything you’ve got. Enjoy the moments, big and small, as they come. Have fun! As Ferris Bueller famously said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (And yes, that movie is in the Film Library).
Unfortunately for the Class of 2020, life has drastically slowed down at the end of your high school careers. It would be easy to blame circumstances or dwell on lost opportunities — two actions that would rob you of the joy of the present and the promise of the future. But that’s not you. You’re the Class of 2020 — you’re the next best hope for your family, your community, your country, and your world.
You are loved and you are treasured. You carry our beliefs and hopes with you into this next phase of life. If you forget who you are along the way, just stop by — we’ll be glad to remind you of the amazing potential we see in you! You’ve already made us proud — now go out and let the rest of the world see what all the fuss is about.
And wear sunscreen. You might not get the joke but that’s still quality advice.