Graduating During a Pandemic

Thoughts from mentor2.0 graduate and 2020 Voice of Potential, Michelle, recently published in the Arizona Daily Star

Graduation is an event every incoming freshman looks forward to, an event where all our hard work proves to be worth it. We gather up and celebrate an accomplishment with all our family, friends and the teachers who helped us get there. The seniors of 2020 are having that taken from them. Due to the circumstances our families and teachers are doing the best they can to fill that empty feeling all seniors are feeling around the world. As a graduating senior from Amphitheater High School here is my story.

Graduation has always been very important to me and my parents. In our Hispanic family I can’t say there are many high school graduates, throughout my whole four years of high school I kept reminding myself I wasn’t only doing it for my future, but for my family, and to prove all stereotypes wrong. Despite our ceremony being short and limited to family members, I’m entirely grateful my family is well. Sure, it might not be the graduation I dreamed about or the celebration, but no one can take away the late nights, the hard studying, the early morning drives, the laughs, the stress, that lead to my well-earned diploma. At the end of the day I made my mark along with all my classmates.

This pandemic has taken many lives. Many people were taken away from their families. I honor them. It might not be much, but I dedicate my diploma to all the families who have suffered a loss during the pandemic, my diploma goes to all the children who passed in past school shootings and during the pandemic, who were not only robbed from their future graduation, but from their families and life.

Michelle has been matched with her Big Sister Kristen in the mentor2.0 program since her freshman year in 2016.