Message to the CLASS of 2020

Message to the CLASS of 2020
Posted on 04/20/2020
Message to the CLASS of 2020

Dear PAHS Seniors & Senior Families, 

It’s no exaggeration to say that over the past six weeks, the Class of 2020 has been a top of mind focus and priority.  I miss you.  I worry about you.  I miss seeing your faces, hearing your stories, lauding your successes and being inspired by your dreams and passions.  I’ve come to realize with tremendous clarity that so much of what has made my experience at PAHS so worthwhile over the past four years has been each and every one of you.  The Class of 2020 is special.  I knew that before our daily lives at PAHS were upended and turned upside down.   But I also believe you never really know someone (or a group of people) until you see how they react to adversity.  Your reaction as a class, one filled with grace, pride, and optimism, has been one that I have marveled at and tried to emulate in my own life.  Ironically, it’s each of you that has become our greatest teachers.  Know that my love and a deep sense of respect for each of you is something that will be forever present, even as the years move on.   

 Like any great leader, you have all put on a great public face in response to difficult circumstances and helped to lead our school forward.    I know that on a personal level, feelings of loss, grief, confusion and any number of emotions have been a constant undercurrent.  Having had the pleasure of watching you grow and evolve these past four years into the incredible young women and men you are today, my heart is heavy realizing that the culmination of your high school experience as scripted and envisioned has been compromised.  I think it is important to take a moment to acknowledge this loss.  In acknowledging this, I would remind you that... It’s ok to not be ok at this moment in time.   

 In fact, acknowledging those feelings, talking openly about them and recognizing that many others feel exactly the way you do, is an effective way to heal and gain perspective.   Commiserate with your friends.  Confide in trusted teachers and mentors.  Talk with your family and loved ones about how you feel.  In the process, you will find strength, resolve, and resiliency that will carry you forward – not just through this challenge, but in all the many challenges that life will throw your way.  And believe me, there will be more challenges.  Don’t let this experience dampen your zest for life and the future.  We need you.  The best version of you.  Now more than ever.

 It can be easy to feel disconnected, alone, maybe even forgotten during this time.   But it’s important for you to know that we at Phoenixville are thinking about you EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Our goal is to show you that you are our priority in actions and words and to share our plan of how we move forward.  Below, I have outlined out our plans for the celebration, recognition, and graduation of the Class of 2020.   

First, after consulting with many students and parents, there is a strong belief, one I share, that Graduation Day, Wednesday, June 10th, is important both in a symbolic way and in a practical, sense.  This is the day the class of 2020 will officially graduate from PAHS and will be the date stamped on your high school diploma. More importantly, though, it is a day many of you have an emotional connection.  For most of you, the 10th of June has been circled on your calendars since our commencement date was announced over a year ago.  And thus, we feel it is important to honor and recognize that day in a meaningful way.  Our plan is to hold a modified virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020 on June 10th and recognize each of you, our graduates. We are designating the days leading up to Wednesday, June 10th as a “senior week,” filled with many virtual events meant to honor and recognize the Class of 2020.  Everyone at PAHS is working hard to make these events as worthwhile and meaningful as possible and we hope these events will help keep this monumental time in June very special.  Please see below for a breakdown of those events: 

Event

Date Video Will Air

 

 

Athletic Highlights

June 1st

Art, Music, Theatre Showcase

June 2nd

Senior Slide Show

June 3rd

Staff "Senior Send-Off" Video Messages

June 3rd

Impact Awards

June 4th

Decision Day

June 5th

Senior Awards Ceremony

June 8th

Baccalaureate

June 9th

VirtualGraduation(modified ceremony)

June 10th

 We also recognize that the overwhelming preference from students, parents, community, and staff is to hold some of these events in person. I agree wholeheartedly. The desired way to thank and acknowledge all that the Class of 2020 has contributed and accomplished is in a face-to-face format.  My objective to provide a series of live events for the Class of 2020 has not waivered.  As such, subject to the guidance provided by our state and local officials, I wanted to take this time to share the dates of when these milestone events could take place. For your planning purposes, please mark your calendars for the dates listed below and continue to be excited and optimistic!!!   

 Class of 2020 End of Year Events: 

Junior/Senior Prom and FOCUS – Saturday, July 25th - Location TBA  

Baccalaureate Ceremony – Friday, July 31st - HS Auditorium – 6:00 PM 

Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremony – Saturday, August 1st - Washington Field - 6:00 PM 

 In the event that a public gathering is not possible on the dates listed above as per the PA Governor’s office, we will plan to hold these events on the weekend TWO weeks after the stay-at-home order has been lifted.   A hypothetical example; if the stay-at-home order ends on September 1st, commencement events would take place the weekend of September 19th and 20th (two weekends after).    Certainly, if this the case, we would communicate all important dates and information to you.  No matter what – these events will happen!   

 I realize this is not what any of us had envisioned.  But given the circumstances, I do believe this format gives us the opportunity to keep our original date in June meaningful and follow a ‘normal’ end of year format to celebrate an exceptional group – the class of 2020!   I appreciate the invaluable feedback received from so many of you to help to make the best of this situation in which we all find ourselves.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any other questions or concerns as we move ahead!   Mrs. Bhalla will be sending out an invitation to each of you to sign up to engage in conversations regarding the upcoming events as well as anything else you would like to discuss.  This will provide you the opportunity to ask questions you may have, but also develop a better understanding of how this plan was reached.  We will schedule 6 Zoon meetings for students to meet in groups of 15 over the next few days.  If all of the slots fill up, we will add more.  We want to be sure to give every student the opportunity to be heard and share their thoughts as we move forward. 

 With much love and respect, 

 Dr. Craig L. Parkinson 

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