Our opinion: Graduates: be the hope

This week, Austin High School and Pacelli High School would have held their graduations. Before them, other schools in the area would have held their graduations in full auditoriums.

It’s the end of a very important part of their life, one of the milestones that graduates will remember for years to come.

Of course, the graduates of 2020 will have more than most to remember. While those graduates of years past have enjoyed the ceremony and the little things that went along with it, this year’s class will remember that half their senior year was taken from them by COVID-19.

They will remember a country torn apart following the death of George Floyd.

It’s unfair. It’s a lot to put on their shoulders, but at the same time there is a chance to learn from this from the larger issues that are unfair to many that have to work this world with them.

Moments in time are often another classroom, where we observe the world in real time as it unfolds before us — often good, often bad.

This year’s seniors have been party to a startling reality that there are hurtful problems in this world and they will be looked at as being a part of the solution, thus it’s important to watch, learn and understand the mistakes of the present.

Students in Austin, both past and present, took part in this past weekend’s march, determined to have their voices heard and wanting to be part of the remedy to our larger problems. George Floyd must not be forgotten.

Science will ultimately find the answer in the fight against COVID-19, but human action will need to be part of what gets us through the other trials and tribulations.

There is an open wound in America, made clear by the pain and suffering of our African American neighbors nationwide.

But those graduates who are taking their first real steps in the larger world this spring will have a chance to help start us down a road to making it better. To do this, each student receiving a diploma will have to be a better person to realize that goal.

We understand that graduates and their families are disappointed to not be walking a stage to be recognized for their achievements.

We’re disappointed to not be covering these events, but at the same time we urge students to watch what’s going on, asking the important questions, recognizing there are problems and in turn being part of the solution.

Perhaps it’s cliche, but no less true. You are now the future, you are now the hope for a brighter tomorrow, but we are standing with you knowing that great things can be a part of your tomorrow.

Best of luck to all of our area seniors and seniors around the state of Minnesota. Congratulations on your achievements. So many are proud of what you have accomplished.