Karen Needler

The following letter was part of the March 27 Champlain Valley Union High School CVU Celebrations email.

CVU class of 2020, as your class advisor I know this is not how you expected to finish the final leg of your senior year in your high school journey, in your lifelong journey. This was to be our year, and, with fingers crossed, we were going to make it the best. Ever.

And it has been, from most inclusive class to celebrations and victories, to being guinea pigs for new AP policies and more exploratory personalized learning than ever. You voted for our T-shirt design: Just Did It. We could see our path. A couple more months of classes and Mia’s and Beckett’s confident morning greetings, spring break and trips afar, Ping Pong and Boss of the Toss fundraisers, athletics with team and individual victories and losses, arts, prom, award ceremonies, Hugs and Roses concert, picnics, Grad Challenge celebrations, RISE explorations, convocation, commencement (with optional hugs from Adam, of course) and graduation. As it should be.

And now we see blurred and bumpy visions of ourselves through Google Hangouts as we watch the world shut down around us. We teachers have heard you tell us you’re bored. Xbox. Facetime. You miss your friends. You even miss us. We know. We miss our friends, and we miss you.

But change is afoot already. Laundry is being done, baking is happening (can anyone find baking powder?), instruments are being pulled out—guitars, drumsticks, ukuleles. Virtual workouts, virtual singing classes, artwork, painting your house a room at a time (!), jigsaw puzzles, kitties and puppies are in those blurry screens and they’re happy to have us home. Captains of teams are refocusing their leadership skills. My Boomer tale is when I complained about being bored, my mother always said she’d give me something to do. (So I’m never bored.)

Class of 2020, we are an inclusive class. For prom last year we said: Solo. Date. Friends. Be together. For this year’s Winter Ball: You don’t need a date, just a ticket. And you came out in record numbers. So senior class, I challenge you to find new ways to build inclusion and make connections stronger than ever. We are so very fortunate to have what we need to do so—strong leadership at CVU, and the best technology the world has ever known. What can we do? What can you do? What does someone else need, and how can you help? Your creativity has no bounds. It’s still your senior year and there are months to go to write your history. There’ll still be celebrations and recognitions to be made.

Just did it. We sure didn’t predict we’d do it this way. So, for now, remember last year’s motto: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Let’s build that boat and just do it. This is still your senior year, and you’re writing your legacy.

Karen Needler is a CVU math teacher and this year’s senior class advisor.