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Kelly Kendall: Dear Class of 2020: Our time at West Forsyth

By Kelly Kendall
For the Clemmons Courier

Friends, the time has come to move that green and gold tassel to the other side of your caps, but first I want to take you back to our times at West, starting with the very first one. The year was 2016 and I was 14 years old. Sporting white high-top Converses and ridiculously thick eyeliner, I walked onto campus for the first day of school with more than just butterflies in my stomach — this felt more like a washing machine filled with rocks. I never could have imagined the journey I was embarking on, but I knew I was excited for whatever came my way.

What followed that terrifying first day was attending football games, making new friends, and keeping up with an intense new academic workload. I got my permit, then my license, and camped out for a prized parking spot in my junior year. I joined clubs, ran clubs, and met people with my same passion for public speaking and journalism. I was given exciting opportunities such as becoming a dance teacher, attending Governor’s School, and of course, being the 2019-2020 Titan Tattler. I became a legal adult. I went through the arduous process of applying to college and waited anxiously for those decisions. I decided where I’m going to college and began looking ahead to the next four years.

I know my experiences are similar, yet completely unique to those of my fellow seniors, and that’s the beauty of high school. We cheered alongside each other during the Titans’ unstoppable football seasons yet made high school our own by finding the people and activities we love. I’ve grown not just academically, but as a person. I now have a far better understanding of who I am than I did when I was 14, and imagine many seniors feel the same way.

Of course, senior year has taught me lessons I never thought I’d learn. On March 13, I walked into Career Center for my morning classes, left just before noon like normal, ate lunch in West’s cafeteria, and had my last day of physical high school ever. That day in my newspaper class, we talked about the virus and the possibility of schools closing for a couple of days, but had not the slightest idea that it was the last time we’d walk the halls of West Forsyth.

Even writing this, it seems unreal that I used to attend a school of over 2,000 students without any notion of social-distancing and face masks. In hindsight, I wish I had appreciated it more, though I had no way of knowing that this new normal was upon us. A part of that new normal for the class of 2020 has been a string of memories taken away as well. Prom, Awards Day, and graduation have all been either altered or canceled. Though these changes were made for good reason, it’s hard not to feel like the best part of this 13-year journey has been robbed from us.

Seniors, I share your pain, but I truly believe there is a silver lining: we’re going to come out of the other end of this stronger than ever before. In the fifth grade, my teacher asked the class what year we’d graduate high school. After some finger counting, we discovered that it would be 2020. To our surprise, she began whooping and hollering and dancing across the room. When we asked why, she declared, “The class of 2020 is going to change the world!” At the time I was just looking forward to recess, but now I know she couldn’t have been more right. When this pandemic is over, this class will have the strength, patience, and grace to take on all that this ever-changing world throws at them, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

West Forsyth, thank you for the beautiful four years, and to the class of 2020, congratulations, and good luck on whatever the future may hold for you. For the last time as your Titan Tattler, go Titans!
Some final thoughts from the Class of 2020:
“None of it felt real on March 13, but to think that it was my last day of high school is astonishing. I wish we were able to go back and thank all of our teachers for everything,” said Reagan Cox.
“While it’s disappointing we won’t get a full ceremony, I’m very thankful that we still get to walk. That’s all I really needed during this time,” said Evan Souza.
“At first I was dissatisfied with the way this year turned out, but now I’m living my best life and remembering that we are a part of history,” said Raahim Khan.

Kelly Kendall is a 2020 graduate of West Forsyth High School and the Courier’s Titan Tattler.