My dear, wonderful and beloved young friends, Upon your graduation, with your youthful energy, your determination and the skills and knowledge you have acquired in high school, you have earned the privilege of perhaps becoming one of America’s new, heroes and leaders. Rise to this occasion, my young friends. This might be one of the, or perhaps “the”, single greatest opportunity you’ll have to make a powerful difference in the world. You are needed, you are prepared and you are our future. Good luck, congratulations and G_d speed.
Seniors to Seniors 2020
Congratulations to the Senior Class of 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a time of “social distancing,” and for a mission that has spent two decades bringing youth and educators together, isolation has taken its toll – especially on the senior class of 2020. While traditional and sentimental activities, those anticipated for years such as dancing at the senior prom or crossing the stage at graduation are not to be, below, we share voices in solidarity and support of seniors everywhere. If you would like to add your message, please email Director of Operations, Elizabeth Kolodny, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, with the generous help and support of Lycored’s “Notes of Nourishment” campaign and the New York Common Pantry, we are partnering to invite senior citizens to write “Notes of Nourishment” to Graduating Seniors. In partnership with Lycored and littleglow, special nutritional packages are being shipped on behalf of the senior class to senior citizens and people in need of food assistance. For each gift of $20 to Operation Respect, Lycored will underwrite the cost of sending a bountiful package of nutritional goods, fresh produce and notes of love, up to the total of $2020. This is the 20 for 20 gift that is paid forward, touching both generations, Seniors to Seniors!
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Onteora High School
Life is not always fair or understood, but we find immeasurable purpose, often, out of our troubles. Your friendships can be bound for a lifetime in these precious moments. Keep friends close, cherish all that brought you here and embed service in your journey. It will deliver happiness! Amor vincit omnia – “love conquers all.”
John McKennaRhinebeck, NY
We at NEXUS gather young leaders globally who are taking a stand on issues that matter to them. YOU, the seniors, from Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland and beyond, inspire a generation the world over by how you use your voices, your songs and your words to carry a message far beyond places you can possibly see or know. You have touched the world! And the world thanks you. You remind us all not to stop speaking up and speaking out. May you always know the difference your lives have made on human culture.
Rachel GerrolNew York, NY
Don’t let the fear of the virus become the virus of fear. Keep creating, keep inventing, keep dreaming. You will lead the way in this time of healing.
David KenerNew York, NY
I am sending you CONGRATULATIONS and wish you successful careers ahead. These times are challenging, however “when there is a will, there is a way.”
David BrozaNew York, NY
When time goes by and you look back at this time, I hope you feel more heroic than cheated. Thank you for staying home and being a hero!
Latrina GreenblottSt. Augustine, FL
They said it well, so from the Lycored family to you: ‘Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.’ – Helen Keller, and ‘Be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.’ – Maya Angelou.
Zev ZieglerSecaucus, NJ
Creativity out of Challenges. Continue to find new paths to get to your dreams. The bigger your dream, the more beautiful your journey. Congratulations on blazing to this checkpoint!
Brian YamamuraNewbury Park, CA
Class of 2020, you are coming of age almost like those of 1940. You have the potential to step up and become the “greater generation.” Accept the challenge and be a part of making the world a better place. Power to you all.
Jeanette McKennaWhittier, CA
You are the class of 2020. What you were denied today will be your motivation to accomplish your goals and make a difference for the betterment of tomorrow.
Greg GonzalesFullerton, CA
Enjoy the time with your classmates while you have it. Take numbers. Make calls. Your friends will carry you through the hardest times. The quarantine will end some day and you can dance together to celebrate graduation. Much love to you all.
Ely GrinvaldWestwood, CA
To the Class of 2020, in a world of uncertainty, you are the light and hope. Stay strong, my young friends, and know that you are never alone. Peace and love always.
Mrs. Megan McKennaPark City HS, Park City, UT
Congratulations to the class of 2020! The toughest steel is forged in fire. I welcome you to wear this COVID-19 experience as a badge of honor which is simply a step towards realizing your greatness.
Jacques-Philippe PivergerBrooklyn, NY
I hope you are doing well and staying safe. Please remember this too shall pass.
Cynthia GarciaLos Angeles, CA
Class of 2020, you are graduating at a historic time in the world. Out of the darkness, always comes light. As you all make your way onto your next stage in life, may you each serve as a flashlight to lead our society to a brighter, more enlightened future!
Dr. Michael LevittanBrentwood, CA
To rise up and be hopeful in difficult times is based on the fact that human history is filled with chaos and challenges. It is also filled with compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. Once we dive into an ocean of gratitude, hopefully we will never arrive at the shore.
Richard and Rita MadeiraLong Beach, CA
Start each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for great things! Make a difference in this world!
Alice HerndonWhittier, CA
You may not have the ceremony of a graduation day but you have achieved something that nothing can take away. That is the knowledge and friendships of which some will last a lifetime. Congratulations to all of you and may God guide you in all your future endeavors.
Andrew MaffucciBrea, CA
As you prepare to move on to your next Life Adventure, please remember that the loss of this year’s graduation celebration is shared around the world with countless other graduates. The lessons in these times of uncertainty show indeed how we are all interconnected and how your creativity and developing abilities can bring hope to the planet.
Dr. Craig WoodsonCleveland, OH
In togetherness we PREVAIL!
Martha Seelig OrtegaChino Hills, CA
Even though there is a sadness in not having a graduation, this situation brings us closer together in an unforgettable moment in our history. College can unleash a whole new world – explore, travel, and try new things to find the real you or be a new you. Best of luck.
Nadine VasquezLos Angeles, CA
Do not mourn during these odd times. But cherish the memories you have created and look forward to the future. These times are building your character and will only make you stronger and more grateful in the future.
John P. McKennaMalverne, NY
You all have come so far and worked so hard to pass high school! I know how hard it is to miss prom, grad-nite and graduation, but stay strong and fight! By the end of all this you all will come out stronger and wiser! Congratulations and keep striving!
Steve HyunLos Angeles, CA
Life has thrown you lemons; and you have turned it into lemonade. Your breakthrough mindset will be your foundation for success. Keep loving and living life to the fullest. The best is yet to come Class of 2020.
Janet KellyLos Angeles, CA
This year will be a year to remember for your entire lifetime – both because it represents the culmination of your years of schooling – the successful completion of high school – and because of the momentous time of “Covid-19,” when the world changed – stood still – gave us time to reflect with 20/20 hindsight, on what brought us to where we are, and to decide with greater clarity where we would like to go in the future. Perhaps more than ever before, you as a generation will have the opportunity to shape a new and better world. Seize this moment, dream, and realize that dream!
Dr. Adrian Clive RobertsPrinceton, NJ
‘Comparison is the thief of joy,’ Teddy Roosevelt said. Allow your own, unique personalities to develop and shine, for you are already, and individually, gifts to the world. It’s a competitive place and popularity contests are empty pursuits. You have all you need inside, and no one out there is like you. Avoid comparisons with others, as it is a constant struggle and will get in the way of true happiness.
Dave and Julie PalmaFullerton, CA
Congratulations Class of 2020! You will always be known as the Class of All Classes! I can’t imagine the pain many of you are going through, but do know there is light on the other side and the world is waiting to see the gifts you will contribute to make our world a brighter place. I’m very proud of you all! Continue to “Go Get it” safely and creatively. We are in this together, and will make it out of this together. Lastly, I want to share a quote that’s very close to my heart and motivates me to push harder when I’ve felt like giving up. “Fear Ends Where Faith Begins”.
Jonathan ″Baby Jay″ GutierrezHouston, TX
Congratulations Class of 2020. You are the bright stars of the future who will change the world for the better!
Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAPNew York, NY
Congratulations—and always stay curious!
Paul Theerman, Ph.D.New York, NY
Congratulations Class of 2020!!! Wish you every success. Let us look forward to better times. During our lives we encounter many obstacles and we overcome, we will overcome this obstacle as well.
Elena MischelTel Aviv, Israel
You are the generation that will steer us out of this darkness and into light. Run out there, find your passion and make your mark. The world needs you. ALL of you. Make us proud.
Ro PatrickNew York, NY
Congratulations on your achievement. May you carry the torch to light the path forward for all of us.
Steve BeerNew York, NY
Quote, from Howard Zinn, for the graduating seniors. “The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Jolan NaviNew York, NY
Congratulations Class of 2020…for being UNIQUE…may you roll out your future with this as your motto….” FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY”.
Anne-Marie BartonSalt Lake City, UT
This is a time that you will tell your children and grandchildren about the year of COVID-19 and how the world was never the same. I hope you are inspired to use this time to create magic and make a difference in humanity’s health and well being. Good luck to you all.
Gail PreskyWashington, DC
Operation Respect is bringing much-needed joy and compassion to people of all ages through their important work!
Erin BernhardtAtlanta, GA
Trust your own intuitive wisdom. Only you truly know who you are, what you want, and what you were put here to be and do.
Nadine HeinmannLos Angeles, CA
In my experience, there are two simple things you can do to ensure your success in a difficult world. First, be the kind of person people want to be around — and second, be the kind of person who knows how to get things done. No matter the challenges our economy faces going forward, those that possess these two traits will always be in high demand. Seize the day!
Sterling TannerMesa, AZ
We applaud this important achievement and hope you will be inspired to continue to create opportunities for yourself and positively impact those around you. Congratulations class of 2020!
The Team at NAfMEReston, VA
To the class of 2020 – although your graduating experience won’t include the traditional ceremonies and celebrations, it will be most memorable. The time you spent with your families and loved ones will be irreplaceable. May this change your lives for the better. May you focus on what matters most. May you find those things that improve yourselves and help others. May you SHINE ON!
Kent BartonSalt Lake City, UT
To the next generation of young leaders: We are so proud of you! Overcoming these challenging times with a positive outlook, creativity and generosity for all will continue to take you very far. We wish you all of the best on your journey and know that together, we will create a more peaceful and sustainable future for all. Please remember this quote and live your life to the fullest, creating positive change wherever you go, “Be the Change you want to see in the World”, Ghandi.
Emilie McGloneNew York, NY
The class of 2020 has taught its teachers the resilience and perseverance that made a transition to online classrooms possible. Faculties throughout the world are impressed and grateful for your creativity, and often for your guidance in technology. Thank you for your spirit and leadership. We celebrate you!
Doris SommerCambridge, MA
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Scott BrowningMonrovia, CA
Someone may have told you once that life is unpredictable. If there is any positive way to frame the current situation, consider that you’re facing this challenge while you’re young. We were already looking forward to a future that had you leading the way, and I’m sure you’ll be able to take the lessons you learn going forward and use them to guide the generations that come after. Cherish your friends, your family and your health.
Dave HoffmanMount Kisco, NY
Stay strong and stay fearless. Don’t be afraid of the unknown and don’t allow yourself to worry about things that you can’t control. Spread the love!
Coco and BreezyNew York, NY
My favorite words of inspiration are from MLK: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” To the class of 2020, you are my inspiration and my hope. You are so much stronger, braver, and smarter than I was at your age.
Sonni MunNew York, NY
I feel like I watched you grow up, particularly the Parkland students, since the horrible event that changed your lives forever. You have changed so many lives already with the work that you’re doing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. I commend each and every one of you for your bravery especially those in constant pain in the retelling of your story. We share such in our mission with you. With love from all at the Naila Amin Foundation.
Naila AminNew York, NY
We may not be able to fix everything that is broken, but that doesn’t mean we fix nothing. We repair as much as we can, knowing the next generation will continue the holy work.
Rabbi Yonah BooksteinLos Angeles, CA
Congratulations to the class of 2020. You’re entering a brave new world that is hungry for innovation, compassion, and leadership. The challenges our country and planet face are also an opportunity for a new generation of leaders to challenge old assumptions and rigid thinking. Seize the opportunity to be a leader, and make the world a better place for all. We’re looking to you to lead us into the future!
Gregory WaplesArlington, VA
Class of 2020: Enter the world with your hearts and eyes open and you will do good as you do well.
Larry SheingoldSacramento, CA
Now is the time to stop living your life for your resume – and time to listen to yourself and to the world around you. Embrace the change as a radical opportunity to create and go in a direction you never imagined – to be a steward of change – more important than continuing in a prescribed path responding to social pressure and convention. Forget the ladder. Remember the greatest change makers and contributors often confronted “impossible” challenges which only increased their resilience and success. It’s more of a risk to do nothing. If the future is unknown, then the only control we have is the present. Do what you really want NOW – just one step at a time. The next steps will naturally follow. Bon Voyage – and enjoy the journey.
Geri CritchleyWashington, DC
The fact that your class has been designated as the most significant in at least a half century, is a mixed blessing at best. You now have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference, that you could not possibly expected or asked for, but that history has nonetheless handed you along with some significant challenges. Sending generational apologies on behalf of too many people our age, whose thoughtless and selfish behavior have made things tougher than they ought to be. We’re betting you can do better….Wishing you the best possible repurposed and postponed parties and celebrations!
David HazanNew York, NY
Congratulations, seniors! Please use creativity as often as you can. Sing, play, paint, draw, act: just create. And then keep doing it. Your voice is valuable and needs to be heard.
Penny RobertsNew Orleans, LA
Congratulations Class of 2020! I’m sorry the end of the school year didn’t turn out the way you had planned. I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now but I would like you to know that millions of people around the world are thinking about you all. Life is unpredictable. I believe that your class of 2020 will take this experience and you will launch into your careers with more purpose than any class before you. Congratulations on your graduation! We need you.
Rosa RuvalcabaSan Fernando, CA
It’s sad. It’s disappointing. The truth is the loss of your senior year traditions is appalling. But as Jim Valvano, a phenomenally successful college basketball coach said as he was battling cancer: “Don’t give up….Don’t ever give up!” You have a wonderful future ahead of you. Look forward to that with confidence.
James HarveySeattle, WA
Dear Class of 2020, We feel you! While you may not realize it, you are living through a momentous historical event. In many ways, the waters have been parted for you. As disappointing as things may seem right now, an amazing opportunity awaits you. Embrace it. Cut a new path. And lead us boldly into the future.
Todd MackAtlanta, GA
Your class has already demonstrated remarkable resilience, courage, and leadership. Although this is an incredibly uncertain time, it’s also an opportunity to make significant changes in how our economy, political system, and society operate. We can accomplish so much together!
Dr. Natalie GoldringWashington, DC
To the HISTORIC class of 2020, thank you!!! Yet again you have proven to us why you are a transcending generation. As I looked back in the history books (google), I realized no other graduating class will have this experience. This story you have is one of the many things that make you all legendary! Now make it count.
Fred WatkinsBaltimore, MD
John Lennon wrote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”: let’s not fall into that trap! “Your Life” is not out there, it is not something you have to endlessly strive to achieve, not something far off in the future, nothing that you have to prove, or wait for. Your life is coursing its way through your body and your heart and your mind right now, right here. How lucky to be alive! How lucky we all are that you are alive! Each and every one of you: wonderful just as you are, as unique and as perfect as a snowflake. There will never be another day just like today, and there will never be a person just like you. So take a deep breath, and find one beautiful thing to be grateful for every day. The rest will follow, as surely as the dawn follows the night.
Aimee Ginsburg BikelWashington, DC
Congratulations, I am extremely proud of each and every one of you! Despite these trying times, I am counting on your generation to be the most creative, motivated and compassionate generation yet! Best wishes as you go forth to make your future… our futures!
Janice CapezzutoBroadview Heights, OH
I am so proud of you. I know that this is just one in a long string of accomplishments. Now go out there and make a difference.
Karen ZopattiPlymouth, MA
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