“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today,” – Malcom X
This weekend, our Class of 2020 graduates will have the opportunity to walk across the stage and officially graduate from high school. A few weeks ago, Governor Cuomo announced that in-person graduations could take place (outdoors and with social distancing measures enforced) for graduations with no more 150 attendees. Most high schools in Chenango County were able to make a last minute pivot to their plans, and pull together a ceremony and many of those begin tonight. Thankfully, Class of 2020 graduates will have one last opportunity to celebrate this milestone with their peers. It makes me sad to know that among the many casualties we have faced during COVID-19, that our high school seniors have missed out on their Senior year. Prom, sporting events, last minute visits to their chosen college, skip day (not officially approved, but done regardless), and so many other “lasts” they were not able to experience. But most of all, I feel for the educators who won’t have the opportunity to instill that last bit of knowledge, that final message before sending their pupils out into the world.
While this weekend is a celebration of all that has been achieved, I would like to send a special message and thank you to our educators. They rose to the challenge of providing a solid education to our children in light of the most disastrous pandemic they have ever lived through. Nothing in their years of teaching had prepared them for this. I have the privilege of being friends with many teachers throughout our area, and it made my heart ache to hear the stress in their voice and to see their anxiety as they worried about whether or not they were giving their students all they possibly could. Did they prepare their weekly online lesson well enough? Are they providing the right support? Using the best technology platforms? How do they reach those students who lacked a proper support system at home? Did they do enough?
I would like to not only congratulate our senior class, but I would like to give a nod and salute our educators. Whether you are a teacher, bus driver, custodian, administrator, support staff or aide. Thank you for all you have done to try and provide a quality education at a time of crisis. What was asked of you was unprecedented and you not only rose to the occasion, but you excelled beyond what we thought was possible. We appreciate you, we thank you and we are forever indebted to you.
President & CEO