Mar. 13 2020. For all of us here in the Capistrano Unified School District, that fateful Friday the thirteenth was our last time on campus. It was the last time we would attend in person classes. It was the last time we would see our teachers. The year 2020 has marked its own collection of lasts: The last year we would take for granted the lives of cherished icons, the last year we would walk outside unfearful of a pandemic, the last year we would turn a blind eye to the suffering of minority groups in the United States.
It has been a year unlike any other, and while it marked many lasts, it also marked many firsts: The first time many felt what it is like to miss school, the first time summer break was no break at all and the first time many spoke up against the injustices of our society.
As COVID-19 swept into Orange County, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, all lives were changed. And that is no exaggeration. Unless you live on a remote and uncharted island, chances are you were very much affected by this virus. Many had lost their jobs or had to work at home to stay financially stable. In all our lives we have never seen something pop the South Orange County bubble faster than this pandemic. And that begs the question; have we as a community and country emerged better or worse than we were before?
Many would argue that the battle is not yet won. COVID-19 continues to ravage the U.S. and countless other countries, and it may be a long way until normalcy returns, but I would say the lessons 2020 has already taught us should be forever remembered by we who lived through it. Here are just a few lessons that I would like all of us at Dana to remember going into this “school year.”
Cherish deeply the things you have in life, as we now know how fast they can be taken.
Cherish deeply the things you have in life, as we now know how fast they can be taken. I am quite certain many students were thrilled to be leaving school for a couple weeks that Friday in March so long ago. Little did we know that even while away from school we would not be able to see anyone besides our families. Very quickly we realized that no amount of sleep, relaxation, TV, movies or video games could replace that gift of human companionship. I sincerely hope it is something we never again take for granted.
Refuse to accept injustice. This is true of any form of injustice, but I am of course referring to the recent surge of support for the Black Lives Matter movement this year following several horrific killings of African American citizens by officers of the law. Never in my lifetime had I heard of an act so merciless and cruel than the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Conversely, never in my lifetime had I seen such a pushback against such atrocities in my hometown of Dana Point and its surrounding cities. It motivated me and many others of my generation to speak up for once rather than remain complacent in privilege. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is we should refuse to believe the flaws of our society are set in stone rather than fixable, and we should all have the heart to push for that change.
Wear a mask. Indeed it should go without saying that you should wear a mask to keep yourself and others safe. To me however, the mask has developed as a symbol; a symbol of compassion for our fellow man regardless of whether we know them or not; a symbol of mutual vulnerability as we admit we are all humans; a symbol of togetherness as we witness how we are all going through the same struggles. Wearing a mask represents all these things and more, so remember to bring it with you when you go out!
Have hope Dana, and remember these lessons well as we charge head-first through this battlefield of a school year. Remember to bookmark our website and subscribe to our instagram @dhhsnewspaper for weekly article publications!
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