By: Bree Manges-McCahan
You will never forget the day the last school bell sounded at 3:05.
The day you went home, and Monday never seemed to arrive.
You will never forget the last practice with your teammates, full of hope as you excitedly waited for the new season to unfold.
You’ll never forget where you were standing when you received a One Call saying practices were now suspended and school for the next two weeks was on hold.
A school building you spent the last six years routinely entering.
Making memories and creating friendships that were built to last.
Now, your senior year has dwindled by much too fast.
You will never forget the day when buses stopped picking up children of all ages.
When your car remained parked in your driveway, and people’s jobs were on hold, along with their wages.
When food was scarce on the grocery shelves, and people panicked hoarding material goods.
In isolation, many felt fortunate that they grew up in a small town in the backwoods.
You’ll never forget your radiant prom dress hanging in your closet, taking up space;
Hanging alone, as if it was purchased solely for showcase.
A symbolic representation of a future event full of glamor and romance.
Your sparkly heels, still in the box, seemed to sing loudly that they desperately desired to dance.
You spent time indoors with your family while the wheels of history turned.
Businesses and schools shut down, but you still learned.
A new learning environment was developed almost over night,
and teachers, administrators, education, and sheer determination took flight.
You’ll never forget when cashiers, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, x-ray techs, and all medical staff remained steadfast heroes.
Through a pandemic, they courageously put on their masks and gloves and to the dire occasion they still rose.
Through all the INSANITY,
And you worried about your own family, your grandparents, the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, and you, of course, worried about the remainder of your senior year.
You thought about prom, graduation, and even your future career.
Will the graduation march sound?
Will you get to hear the crack of a bat or watch the pitcher take the mound?
Will you get to experience the adrenaline rush of hearing another bang of a gun on a sweltering track?
Will you receive your diploma, proudly wearing the Titan colors red and black?
Will you ever get to run that last final race?
Will your cleats ever hit that sandy base?
Will the 2020 yearbook’s pages remain unfinished or simply be blank space?
Will your racket ever again find its way onto the tennis court?
Will you ever play another high school sport?
And what about those sparkly heels and that radiant prom dress?
The sheer unknown has brought on so much added stress.
And right now these are just all unanswered questions.
But one day school will be back in session.
The coronavirus will no longer reign.
And a new, promising grateful outlook you will all gain.
Doors will reopen.
People will let kindness and hope in.
Yellow buses will be waiting at their designated stops.
Our small town will open up its shops.
The steadfast heroes will remain.
And you’ll finally experience that one last game.
And the crack of the bat will finally sound.
Children will yell ecstatically and gather around.
And the crowd, teachers, students, parents, and the community, will roar.
And those sparkly heels will finally meet the dance floor.
And those graduation caps, in the air, will soar.
And the valedictorian and class president will give their final speech.
And that long-awaited graduation day will finally be in reach.
And future plans will be set in place.
And you will experience and witness the greatest gift of all: God’s grace.