This year’s graduating students will not have a traditional graduation experience. (Stock photo)

This year’s graduating students will not have a traditional graduation experience. (Stock photo)

COLUMN: A message to the resilient, innovative, storytellin’ Class of 2020

The upheavals you’ve experienced has given you inner strength, even if you don’t yet realize it

Every year around this time, members of council are invited to attend the high school graduation ceremony.

It’s an opportunity for us to not only salute individual students, but to also recognize the contribution of our youth to the community.

This year, due to COVID-19, there will be no ceremony.

You’re in the feelies, it’s understandable.

Everyone should be able to celebrate their achievements.

If this was going to happen to anyone, it was going to happen to you, Class of 2020.

Because you were different from the start. You were born into a world reeling from the 9/11 attacks.

You have seen the impacts of war with the arrival of refugees in our community.

You’ve seen the impacts of the opioid crisis with overdoses and deaths of people you know.

You’ve seen the impacts of climate change with unprecedented wildfires and flooding.

Now – surprise! – you’re graduating in the middle of a pandemic.

The upheavals you’ve experienced throughout your early life, culminating in these bizarre final few months of your graduating year, has given you inner strength, even if you don’t yet realize it.

You have learned that life is uncertain and nothing is promised. In the process, you have become resilient.

You’re going to hear a lot more about resilience as you step out into the world.

Whether we’re talking about individuals or society, business or government, community or country, there will increasingly be a need to bounce back from crises and adapt to new normals.

Not everybody has an ineffable quality to be knocked down and get back up stronger.

READ ALSO: Summerland school to present video of graduation ceremonies

READ ALSO: In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

But you do. You’re proving it right now.

You won’t get your moment to parade into the arena and party like it’s 1999. But you’ve found other ways to celebrate and capture your graduation through photo shoots, videos and social media. You’ve had to innovate.

Innovation is another word you’re going to hear more often.

Increasingly, the ability to resolve problems — personal and societal — will depend on doing things differently.

Not everybody knows how to think outside the box. But you do. Again, you’re proving it right now.

You’re living history, and already you have quite a story to tell about your graduation. About how you crossed an empty stage in an empty theatre to receive your diploma. About being all dressed up with no place to go. About how a pandemic made you boldly go where no grad had gone before.

The ability to share a good story will serve you well.

Facts and figures have their place but it’s our stories that create lasting impressions and help us make sense of this crazy world.

For many cultures, including most First Nations, storytelling is the foundation for learning and relationship building. Indigenous writer and storyteller Thomas King says a great way to start a story is with the words: “You’ll never believe what happened.”

Not everybody knows how to tell a good story. But you do. When talking about grad, you’ll forever be saying, “You’ll never believe what happened.”

So even if your graduation hasn’t gone as expected, be proud of your accomplishments and know your future is so bright you’ll have to wear shades.

Your resilience, innovation and storytelling will get you through the tough times of today and you will emerge as the leaders of a better tomorrow.

Class of 2020, the force will be with you.

Always.

Doug Holmes is a Summerland councillor and parent of a 2020 graduating student.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ColumnistGraduation 2020Schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

After 20 years in the community, Pathways Addiction Recovery Centre has had its funding cut by Interior Health, who says they are bringing addictions services in-house now. (Facebook)
Community outraged at Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Penticton addiction services centre

People question why Pathways addiction services would be cut during an overdose epidemic

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Penticton bylaw services department. (Submitted file photo)
Penticton Mayor tries again for more bylaw officers

Mayor John Vassilaki wants to see bylaw offer seven day a week services with extended hours

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering soft tissue injuries following the incident

Most Read