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How the class of 2020 is persevering while missing out on graduation milestones

Posted at 8:56 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 11:46:05-04

UNION CITY, N.J. — They’re the class of 2020: A class that has persisted through the unthinkable and the unpredictable.

Each of these students was born in the wake of 9/11 and grew up alongside the rise of social media and smart technology.

They're present-day high school seniors who have lived through life-altering events that have reshaped our world.

These teens are now pushing a message of hope in the era of COVID-19.

Kelly Waddleton, 18, produced a YouTube video with the help of fellow seniors from Nutley High School, embracing their new reality head-on.

“We just wanted to share how we are sad but we are hopeful for the future,” Waddleton told PIX11. “In times like these when we are separated, we come together.”

While some schools are holding virtual proms like Livingston High School, losing out on these teenage milestones is weighing heavy on some.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen this way,” John Easley, a senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem said. “We all had plans of doing whatever and then like it just stopped suddenly. That hurts.”

Yet these teens haven't lost sight of the bigger picture.

“In order to keep everyone else safe, we understand that you have to do what you have to do,” Michaela Duryea, a senior at Special Music School in Manhattan, said.

Antonella Fernandini, a senior at Jose Marti STEM Academy in Union City shares that sentiment.

“Health is very important, and if we are not healthy, we can’t appreciate these events,” she said.

These students are now seeing this setback as a set up to a comeback.

“We are ready for anything,” Duryea said.