Dear Class of 2020,
This is not a letter I ever expected to write and honestly, I don’t really know what to say. The hardest things to understand are the things that are out of our control, so I am not going to try and claim that I know what is going through your head and heart right now. What I do know is that this is a horrible, sad and unprecedented situation. I am heavy hearted for the sick, for the scared, and for you, who never pictured the spring of your senior year this way.
For many years at the last Chapel, I have shared remarks entitled “How do you want to be remembered?” We start by talking about Alfred Nobel and the surprising gift he received when his brother died. As you might remember, the newspaper mistakenly reported that it was Alfred who died and his obituary said simply, “Alfred Nobel, he invented dynamite which makes it easier to kill people.” Imagine getting to see what people really think of you. Alfred did and subsequently made it his life’s work to make a positive difference. The result, the creation of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I know you will choose to be remembered as a class that overcame great adversity. When people think of the Darlington School Class of 2020, they will use words like resilient, kind, wise, determined, selfless, driven, honorable and fun. They will see you as people who led individually and as a group who made the best of difficult times.
One of my favorite parts of the year are my small group meetings with you. Time and time again you speak of how much you value the friendships you’ve made and what you’ve learned from your classmates that live around the world. You know first hand that it does not matter where we are from, it only matters that we understand we are all on this journey together. This feeling is Darlington, and it is genuine only because of you.
I will not overpromise, but I do want you to know that Darlington wants you to have the best experience possible. We will work every day to try and make your senior spring the best it can be. We will fight for you to have a graduation ceremony. If it is on the Chapel lawn, we will celebrate and we will also feel the incredible void of those who cannot be with us in person. This loss is real and we already feel it.
No matter the circumstances in May, I promise that it is my plan to personally shake the hand of every member of the Class of 2020 and hand you your diploma. This may be on the Chapel lawn, or at Cornell, or in your hometown. I wish we had answers today. What I do know is that I look forward to seeing each of you again soon, honoring your time at Darlington to the best of my ability and properly shaking your hand.
As we move forward, know that your school loves you.
Head of School