We’ve been telling our students for a couple of years now that the world, their future, is becoming more and more VUCA. VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. COVID-19 has quickly brought all of us, including our vulnerable young people, into times of uncertainty and ambiguity. While it is devastating for the families of our graduating seniors to not be able to experience a traditional commencement ceremony, it has become overwhelmingly clear that the most precious and important thing of all right now is good health. Good health allows us to get older and experience a more full life. There is fullness of life ahead of our brilliant, creative, and hardworking graduating seniors.
The Hopkins High School Class of 2020 boasts an impressive membership: students who have persevered through isolation and other obstacles beyond what some adults can imagine, a state champion in wrestling and state participants in basketball, many scholars recently admitted to a plethora of universities both private and public, the first graduating class of XinXing students (as in, have taken Chinese immersion for 13 years), founders of student clubs and nonprofit organizations, and young people who have huge aspirations and gifts to give the world.
The world is yearning for and expecting young people who are confident, competent, critically thinking, globally minded and empathetic enough to be curious about others’ experiences. The obstacles faced by people across the planet as they experience life, are problems to be solved by those curious enough to wonder how life could be better. We don’t all have the same quality of life, but we do have young people who have the brains and the creativity to increase quality of life for those in need. The members of the class of 2020 have now been through a significant journey experienced by no other previous classes: Distance learning during a global pandemic. Adjusting to this change, and persevering through the challenges brought on by distance learning and social distancing adds feathers to the grit cap that we need our world problem solvers to wear as they walk boldly into their future. We love our Hopkins seniors! Congratulations to the class of 2020.
Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed is superintendent of Hopkins Public Schools.