Congratulations to the Harwood Union Class of 2020. Your graduation on Saturday, June 20, went off without a hitch and the community parade afterwards was uplifting.

Your community is proud of you, not just for all your accomplishments and your bright futures, but also because of the grace, aplomb, patience and dignity that you displayed when your senior year got yanked out from under you when schools closed in March due to COVID-19.

Your spring sports were canceled. Your prom was canceled. With no warning, you had to learn to learn remotely. Your final exams were online and you lost the chance to feel the nostalgia of cleaning out your locker for the final time.  Your spring and summer sports were canceled. The best two months of skiing were lost.

You were unable to sit with friends in classes, the library, the cafeteria and on school grounds.  You were unable to cheer for your sports teams. You were unable to savor entire series of “last” events that are part of the ritual of graduating from high school.

You spent March through June cooped up and learning from home with your siblings, isolated from peers, social interaction and friends. That’s a tall order to ask of 17- and 18-year-olds.

But you, Class of 2020, did what you had to do with grit and determination and even humor. You’ve proven yourselves to be adaptable, capable and malleable – characteristics that will serve you well as you go on to your next chapters.

Absent your actual peer community, you maintained and demonstrated a strong sense of community and connection with each other. That’s impressive.

Hopefully, you’re the only graduating class that will lose part of its senior year to this COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s hoping that you’re in- person graduation ceremony and the parade afterwards made up for some of that loss.

Go forward knowing that you have the support of all of us and that we couldn’t be prouder and that the example you set for all of us will not be forgotten.