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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

The City of Penticton is beginning work to install gates at the 200 Block breezeway on Main Street. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News file)
Penticton breezeway closed while city installs ‘decorative’ gates

The gates, estimated to cost $20k, are being installed to prevent ‘unwanted activity’

Louise with another load of bottles for ALERT. This super volunteer helps ALERT in so many ways. (Submitted)
Meet Penticton super volunteer Louise Hivon

Louise spearheads ALERT’s recycling fundraising, collecting bottles from anyone, everywhere

Oliver
A couple more South Okanagan schools with COVID-19 exposures

Penticton Christian School adds more exposure days, Oliver Elementary new on the list

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
A new brewery could be coming to the KVR trail in the South Okanagan

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read