Pomp and Circumstance: Honoring the Class of 2020
Amid the chaos and confusion of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the months that immediately followed, a generation of babies was born who would never know a life without the threat of terrorist attacks, school shootings and online predators. Suicide and homicide became some of the leading causes of death for this generation, and mental illness was not an uncommon reality. But this generation also had hope. Fueled by a rejection of previous stereotypes and assumptions, and linked together by social media and continual broadcasting, this generation knew there was work to be done within themselves and without, in “the real world.” What they didn’t expect was that as they prepared to enter that world, they would again experience chaos and confusion, but of a very different sort.
Read the rest of this article, and join us in celebrating Clark County’s class of 2020 in the full digital issue below.
National Adopt a 2020 Senior Project
Rachel Chatterley is a Vancouver mother whose only child, Taylor, is graduating from Columbia River High School. Both mother and daughter have experienced loss. Besides missing prom and a traditional graduation ceremony, Taylor says that she is unbelievably sad about not getting to spend time with her friends before everyone goes off to college. The mother and daughter were heartened, though, when they discovered the National Adopt a 2020 Senior Project Facebook group, dedicated to pairing high school graduates (“adoptees”) with “adopters” who write letters and send gifts to brighten graduates’ lives. Parents present their children for “adoption.” “When I ‘put Taylor up for adoption’ it was probably 12 hours and I got a message from a lady also named Taylor who lives in Virginia that wanted to adopt Taylor,” Chatterley shares. “We have messaged with her quite a bit. We know that she’s sent a package to Taylor but we haven’t got it yet. We decided that we in turn wanted to adopt someone and Taylor wanted to pick them, so she scrolled through reading everyone’s adoption posts and she started crying and said ‘We have to adopt this girl. Her name is Emma. She lives in Pennsylvania. We have so much in common, I think if we had gone to the same school that we would have been friends’ . . . We messaged with Emma and her Mom a lot and found out what things we might be able to send her that would brighten her day. We sent Emma a package of goodies. In turn Emma and her Mom sent Taylor a surprise box of goodies. Taylor has continued to message with Emma. She has definitely made a new friend. I can’t say enough what a good experience this has been. To see all the love that so many complete strangers are showing each other is a testimony of humanity and human kindness.”
Ashlie Spruill is a 2020 graduate of Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School (HeLa) in Vancouver, who studied nursing and even got some clinical hours in before the pandemic shutdown interrupted her experiential learning. “I found out about school being cancelled while I was at work,” she remembers. “It felt so unreal. I wanted to cry but I had a job to do! But after my shift was over, that’s when I let all the frustration and tears get to me . . . One of the things that I was looking forward to the most was senior prom and senior sunset.”
She continues to grieve, but has an optimistic view of the future. “I am not happy about it, but who is? We have to work with what we have. I am still upset and haven’t come to terms with it. I eventually will though.”
After she graduates, Ashlie plans to work toward her professional dream of becoming a registered nurse. In the meantime, she enjoys working on cars, singing and playing violin.