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

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

Central Okanagan adds 3,600 jobs in July: Statistics Canada

The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 10 per cent in July

Most Read