Looking to the future for the Class of 2020

Karen Wils photo Derick Gould and Ellen Wils — two members of the amazing Class of 2020 from Esky — practice social distancing.

ESCANABA — To the graduating Class of 2020 — God bless you!

Who could have ever guessed that your senior year would have been cut short by a virus?

This should be such a care-free and fun time for you. So many traditions and honors come bundled together with graduation.

You have worked so hard and accomplished so much since kindergarten.

This should be a time of making memories, reflecting back over the years, and taking a breather before moving on down other paths.

Well, believe me no one will ever forget the graduation Class of 2020.

COVID-19 may have put a crinkle in this year’s graduation ceremonies, honors nights, sports banquets and graduation parties, but it cannot stop us from tipping our hats to you.

As a parent of a high school senior, I know how proud I am of my daughter and her whole class. Not only have they excelled at so many things over the years, but they have been handling the disappointment of COVID-19 very well.

They have gone out of their way to make each other smile with senior baskets, pictures and funny posts on their phones.

They build each other up and look forward to better less stressful days.

For many years now, I have been looking forward to my daughter’s graduation day as a special goal that I focused on being home and being healthy enough to attend.

I have been battling a treatable cancer that I call my wood tick (multiple myeloma). The treatment for this disease has required chemo therapy and some trips to the Mayo Clinic.

The worst part about treatment is time away from family. I prayed that I would be able to see Ellen walk across that stage and get her diploma.

I promised her a graduation party too. We had an open house gathering when my son graduated three years ago with tons of family, friends and great food.

Then along comes COVID-19 and all plans, pledges and promises come tumbling down.

So, I’m going to dedicate this column to Ellen and all of her classmates. The Class of 2020 is living history, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

You won’t be graduating in a gym full of people, but in a parade of cars you will safely receive your diplomas.

As time goes on and the virus is more under control, there will be celebrations. The old saying is “good things come to those who wait.”

I’d like to toast the Class of 2020 and let them know that I will never forget the best friends dance photos with Angie, Allie, Lauren, Makenna, Liz, Grace and Ellen, or the winning football team, or the HOSA competition winners or all the crew who made us laugh and sing with “Elf.”

You have so much talent and so many promising futures.

Secondly, I’d like to say a big “thank you” to all of the teachers and school administers for hanging in there and getting us through this most unusual school year. You have done an awesome job keeping us all together.

I’m a prayerful person, so I’m going to pray for a cure for the coronavirus, a cure for cancer and I’m going to pray for the Class of 2020.

You are a unique one and an awesome one.

Blessings and best wishes always.


Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.


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