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Congratulations to every member of the Class of 2020

Congratulations go out today to the members of the Class of 2020.

You may be the most challenged class to graduate from our local schools.

With the COVID-19 public health crisis, you were sent home from school early this year and expected to finish your classwork in a homeschooling type of situation.

Your teachers have been tasked with delivering lessons in difficult circumstances. While online lessons were available to some, many of you faced difficulties accessing the technology for any number of reasons. Did you already have computers and wifi at home? Is broadband even available where you live?

You gave up the majority of your extracurricular activities. Sports were canceled. Club and youth group meetings were no longer held face to face. And forget about being asked to prom and dancing the night away.

Even your graduation events have been challenged — no handshakes, no hugs, but plenty of masks and social distancing — though many schools found unique ways to still provide a memorable experience.

Most schools held graduation parades, in which the graduating seniors were driven to a point to get out of their vehicles to accept diplomas, one at a time, and pose for a photo before getting back in their cars. Many districts are also considering additional, more traditional graduation events later in the summer.

In Montgomery, a parade of graduates in cars went through the borough and ended at the Pike Drive-In theater on Route 15. Once at the theater, a screening was held of the senior class video containing old photos and videos from the last four years, all submitted by students.

While these substitutes for a formal graduation ceremony were definitely different, they do not lessen in any way the importance of the occasion.

You, the graduates, worked hard during your K-12 educational years.

You, the graduates, now take one big step into adulthood.

For many of you, there is more schooling ahead. Others will be looking to join the workforce more immediately. If you would have asked us a year ago, we would have assured you that there are plenty of jobs to be had, just work hard and apply yourself. Show up on time. Have integrity. Be an employee who can be counted on to give an employer your best work.

The world is different today. We live in a new normal. It will take time for the economy to bounce back, but the jobs will be there.

Rest assured — your community, your state and your nation will need you to step up to the plate and carry us forward in the months and years ahead.

You’ve likely heard it all your life, but you are the future.

You are the next generation that will make us better than we are today.

Today, we say to you, every member of the Class of 2020, congratulations! Now go out and be great! We’re here to cheer you on!

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