This article was contributed by San Benito High School senior Jody Gibbs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
San Benito has always been a warm, kind, and welcoming community, one that I am very proud to be a part of. However, in the past few weeks, I have felt nothing but confusion and disappointment in what a vast majority of the people have been posting on the internet, more specifically, the arguments over the senior Class of 2020.
As a senior myself, I understand the deep sadness that parents and family members must feel that they will not be able to watch their child/children cross the stage and receive their diploma. It’s a major step in every person’s life and is very difficult to come to terms with when we hear that it is not going to happen. If anyone has talked with the graduating class, they would see that while saddened by these events, we would rather have everyone be safe and healthy than at risk for something that has the potential to kill them. COVID-19 is not a simple cold. It has the potential to induce pneumonia, cause organ failure, and in extreme cases, death.
This is not a fight. There is no battle here. This is a choice that has been made across the country to protect people from contracting COVID-19, especially those that are most vulnerable. I have asthma. I know several students who have underlying conditions, and if we were to get sick, we could die. Yes, it’s awful and upsetting that we will never have these experiences, but they are not worth risking the lives of our seniors and family members over.
The high school is doing everything they can to ensure that we seniors at the very least get to experience this moment in some way, shape or form. Having something is better than nothing, and what they have suggested is the best alternative available at this time. If anyone feels otherwise, there are better ways to express their opinion than ridiculing the school, who has been working non-stop to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their students.
To any fellow seniors that may be reading, whether or not we have live graduation, dance the night away at prom, or go to Disneyland does not determine how great our final year will be. We decide that for ourselves. We are the ones who decide what our happiest memories are and how we will spend our last moments before becoming adults. It’s up to us to help the community understand what is truly important to our class, rather than letting them speak for us.