I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of being part of this community as I am now after putting this issue together. It was pretty emotional for me — maybe I’m just being sentimental — to gather all this information.
To put things in perspective, our primary appreciation during this pandemic should be for our local aid foundations, the PATH Foundation and the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. They have stepped up in the biggest way possible to the absolute maximum of their resources to support local philanthropic organizations that serve those in want of very basic needs in our community. As Christy Connolly, President and CEO of PATH, said, “We’ve never experienced anything like this before, either in severity or scale.” It’s a big job.
I’d also like to express appreciation to all our parents who have stepped up, to the best of their ability, to fill the education void in their children’s lives. We got a glimpse of their feelings in our survey, and so many responded so thoughtfully that it became a really strong feature.
My own daughter, a Fauquier HIgh School graduate, finished her senior year at College of Charleston this spring without the graduation ceremony. At College of Charleston, the commencement ceremony is very involved and steeped in historic tradition, involving white dresses and roses and surrounded by eighteenth-century buildings and gardens. She was devastated to miss this, as well as the conclusion of her senior year with her friends and her sorority. My heart goes out to her, as well as all the graduates of our county high schools and local college graduates who have missed this closure of this special time in their lives.
But our local principals and staff of Fauquier County Public Schools stepped up in a big way, holding days of individual ceremonies for these students so each had their own special ceremony. I witnessed a few of these at Fauquier High, and I have to confess, I cried. It was incredibly emotional for me after watching three of my own kids come through that school, to reflect on the many effects of the pandemic, the necessity of individual ceremonies, and the dedication of those who made it possible. It was very powerful.
We’d like to say to all the graduates: you are graduating into a different world today, but your lives are still opening up to amazing things and experiences to come. But please, always remember the incredible community you came from.
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