As you spread your wings
By Randy Garrison
For the Class of 2021, your time has come. What a year you have endured, along with your fellow seniors and even underclassmen.
While the Class of 2020 finished their senior year virtually, you all have been able to attend class somewhat normally. While you did attend hybrid days, you were in class for a large percentage of your senior year.
While some events were canceled or changed, the school system worked hard to have as close to a normal year as possible for you, while still following CDC and state guidelines.
While some of you spent days learning virtually while under quarantine, the past few months have been much better for students and staff. You were able to have a football season, basketball season, winter formal, modified prom and baseball, soccer and softball seasons.
Wearing a mask each day was not fun and not planned, but thanks to the administration at Hartselle City Schools, you did have a senior year – one I am sure many of you will not forget.
As a shoutout to Hartselle City Schools, the system will finish the 2020-2021 school year without shutting down one time. This is a record – just two school systems in the state being able to claim this feat.
Starting in kindergarten or preschool, all the way through this year, you have spent most of your life in a classroom. Many of you possibly have the feeling you are ready to leave the nest. You are ready to stretch your wings and fly. You have suffered from “senioritis” for many days and hours, waiting on this day to come.
You and your classmates have experienced many changes, both good and bad. You are the first class to spend your whole senior year in a state of emergency brought on by a worldwide pandemic.
You probably have the feeling that you have arrived. The time has come for you to move forward with your lives and make decisions that will affect your future now and in the years to come.
You are ready to find your place in the world.
Many events have occurred since your birth to change the world, compared to what earlier generations experienced. From cell phones to social media, from one–room schools to college–type high school campuses, to completing junior year virtually – it’s a new world.
The exchange of information occurs now at such a rapid pace. Gone are the days of chalkboards and typewriters.
The information age continues to expand at an increasingly faster rate, and the world you will be moving into seems to move faster each day. In fact, if you are not careful, you can almost be left behind.
You have worked hard to reach this point in your lives, spending many hours studying, doing homework, working on projects and taking tests. The time spent on your education has culminated in you walking across the stage and accepting your diploma.
You have made friends you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
You have had teachers and mentors who have invested their time and talents into the person you have become. Most of you have had the blessing of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles who have stood beside and supported you all your life.
Many prayers have been lifted up for you, and you have been prayed over throughout your life – and many more will continue to be lifted for you.
However, as the tassel has moved, you have stepped forward into a new part of your life. Your status has changed from being high school students to young adults, ready to take on the world.
Many of you will enter college to further your education. Others will continue technical training; some will enter the workforce; and others might join the armed forces in defense of our country.
You will have many choices to make as you move into this part of your life. You have unlimited opportunities, many dreams to fulfill and many adventures ahead of you.
Go forward with these words from God’s Holy Word: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” —Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
May God continue to bless you and keep you safe in all your new adventures, both near and far. Always know you are much loved by your parents, extended family and friends.
Put God first, respect yourself and others, realize your parents are smart folks and life is not always easy.
Your day has come – the one for which you have waited anxiously and eagerly. Opportunities are boundless, and the world is yours to take on.