To the Class of 2020,
We are living in a historic moment. This is an unprecedented time in our country, and as the school newspaper we will work to report information as it is available. Henrico County Public Schools are answering frequently asked questions here: https://henricoschools.us/covid19/commonquestions/
We, the Class of 2020, are resilient. Many of us missed our last day of 8th grade when power outages around Henrico County shut down our middle schools. Our 9th grade year, a bomb threat disrupted Freeman. In the 10th grade, flooding and hurricanes affected the school year. And now, our senior year is being drastically altered by a global pandemic. On March 23rd, Governor Ralph Northam made the decision to close all Virginia schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Clearly, the health and safety of our community is the utmost priority. However, we are grieving the loss of events many of us have looked forward to for years: senior prom, college decision/t-shirt day, Baccalaureate, senior-faculty basketball game, and the senior field trip. Uncertainty clouds our graduation plans. Our hearts go out to the spring athletes who will never get a senior night, the athletes that were never able to sign letters of intent in front of friends and family at Freeman, the chorus members who did not get the chance to finish competition season, and the actors whose spring musical was cancelled. None of us expected March 13th to be our last day of high school ever, and that lack of closure is frustrating and saddening.
However, we are Rebels, and we are stronger together. We have persevered before, and we will do it again. It may take some creativity, but our hard work will be celebrated. In the days since Governor Northam’s decision, there has been an outpouring of gratitude on social media for the 3.7 (give or take) years we had as students at Freeman. Parents and students focused on the positives of what we were able to experience, rather than what was taken away. We had our last first day of school, convocation, Halloween, lunches in the senior courtyard, homecoming, football, and basketball games. We made the most of the time we did have together. Despite the difficulty of the situation we face, we had the opportunity to make almost four years worth of lasting Freeman memories.
This situation is not what any of us imagined, but as a class and community, we are making sacrifices to support the greater good and help combat the crisis. Stay hopeful Class of 2020 – our celebration is coming, and knowing us, it is going to be unforgettable.
Salaar Khan and Gretchen Neary