A “Goodbye” to the Class of 2023

Recognizing all that we seniors have accomplished.

A Goodbye to the Class of 2023

As a graduating senior who will soon be departing from Mentor High School, I wanted to leave my fellow classmates and Cardinal Nation community with a brief note to summarize the past four years and recognize all that the Class of 2023 has accomplished. 

The Class of 2023 is a part of the COVID generation of high school students. 

Now I know what you’re thinking: we’ve heard enough about the pandemic. But here’s the thing: the Pandemic struck in the middle of our freshmen year. I can clearly remember the final minutes of my 15-16 biology class on the last day of school before spring break. While we waited excitedly for the bell to ring, the moment turned bittersweet. At that time, we were all watching the pandemic closely and knew it was only a matter of time before the United States entered a lockdown. 

That evening, Ohio declared a state of emergency, and everything was shut down. My classmates and I didn’t see each other for the rest of the year. Or the next one, either. 

The Class of 2023 had waited fourteen years to have those traditional high school experiences that we saw on TV and heard so much about from family and friends. Suddenly, everything changed, and not only in Mentor, Ohio, but for the rest of the world as well.

Now we could have just wallowed in our own self-pity and given up. It would have been easier. I mean, it wasn’t our choice to do online learning and it wasn’t our choice to forfeit our teenage experiences because of a foreign virus. 

But the students in the Class of 2023 are quite the tenacious bunch. We persevered through the ups and downs of the pandemic and learned valuable lessons along the way. 

I mean, going from an in-person classroom to virtual learning is no easy feat, especially when literally no one was accustomed to teaching or learning that way. So when we were just getting used to high school life, we were swiftly adapting to another school setting, and, whether we liked it or not, we handled that pretty well.

Our class has also come to understand that life isn’t always fair. Yes, things got canceled. Yes, things weren’t going as planned. But we’ve recognized that there are other opportunities out there for us and learned to see things from a different, more optimistic point of view. 

After being apart for so long, we learned what the meaning of true friendship was and found people who never broke their companionship when our social lives were taken to a halt.

Determination. We have persevered through all of the challenges thrown at us, whether it be the pandemic, our classes, sports, or jobs. We have conquered all the struggles that passed our way so that we may stand at commencement with our caps and gowns, ready to walk across the stage and receive our diplomas. We’ve never given up, and now we are at the finish line. 

While the COVID pandemic wasn’t exactly ideal, it was a significant part of our high school career that strengthened our character in ways we didn’t even realize. So as you read through this list of our achievements, I hope it made you think: if we could endure so much during four years of high school, just imagine what we will accomplish in the future. 

– From Evelyn Megery (Editor), Class of 2023

Image design by Evelyn Megery