They’ll be wearing caps and gowns and Pomp and Circumstance will play, but not much else about graduation will be what the Class of 2020 had anticipated.

Fewer people will fill the stands to cheer as their names boom from the speakers, and long-held traditions like friendship circles and group photos will be abandoned, just for now.

For these kids and their parents, though, now is what matters most, and this casualty of COVID-19 stings badly. But just like a wedding doesn’t make a marriage, graduation does not define a student’s accomplishment.

And the inability to be there in person won’t quiet the celebration. In fact, for the broader community that has supported these kids through bake sales and tamale fundraisers, who has cheered at their soccer games and applauded them at halftime, it will amplify it.

If this had been a normal year, I would not have attended the Angleton High School Class of 2020 awards ceremony. Because of live streaming, I sniffled Thursday as the names of kids I have seen grow up in church, or watched dance or sing or throw a football flashed upon my screen. These aren’t my kids, but I perched on the edge of their lives through school fun runs and learning the flute, project fairs and finding their passion on the baseball field, only to find another in girls.

Their academic accomplishments and scholarships filled me with pride for them and their parents and excitement for what they would give to the world.

Class of 2020, try not to dwell on what you’ve lost as your senior year ground to an unexpected halt. Revel instead in what you have accomplished and what comes next.

And please know that so many more people than the few you see in person in those stands are cheering you on, not just as you flip that tassel and toss the cap, but far beyond.

We are your community, and we love you.

More for the grads

The Facts, with the help of sponsor Moody Bank, is hosting an online photo gallery. Look for the “Honor Your Graduate” link at the top of our homepage at thefacts.com to view the gallery or upload your graduate’s photo for a chance to win one of three prize packages. More details on those prizes will come in this space next week. (Trust me, they’ll be great.)

Will you be live-streaming graduation, waiting at home with bullhorns and streamers to chant the graduate’s name when he returns? Email or call to tell us about your plans.

A salute to teachers

There have been so many unsung heroes of this pandemic. Among those are educators suddenly faced with learning new skills themselves to engage students online. They have reached out with emotional support and provided a Zoom space for kids to ask questions, but more importantly, to connect with the lives they had before all of this made their circle so small.

Teachers propped up our kids, and by extension, their parents, when we needed it most. They were the window to normalcy and routine.

As online learning comes to a close and summer officially begins, we thank you for your extraordinary efforts. You are life changers, nurturing generations of more life changers.

Yvonne Mintz is editor and publisher of The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0105 or yvonne.mintz@thefacts.com.

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