• Eydie Balsam

Dear Class of 2021

For the past 6 weeks everyone’s attention, rightfully so, has been mostly focused on the Class of 2020 - what they are missing (prom, graduation), what they are concerned about (summer jobs, will they have the freshmen year at college they hoped for, or what school should I go to since I never got to revisit). There have been hundreds of articles, blogs, and the like, celebrating their successes and ideas of how to mark milestones, such as prom and graduation. The only talk regarding your Class has been about the SAT/ACTs, college admissions, and virtual college tours.

Before our worlds came to a complete halt, you were all at different stages in your college admissions process. Some of you were just at the beginning, and some of you were ready to go visit some last schools over spring vacation week and then take a break. No matter where you are in the process, there are a lot of unknowns, and I know this is a stressful time, and for that I am sorry. I am sorry that you, like the Class of 202) are missing out on some of your milestones, so here is my letter to you.

Dear Class of 2021,

I am so proud of you. No strike that - I am VERY proud of you. This was the spring of your junior year - you were heading into the home stretch. It was “supposed” to be your time to take a peek into your future by touring colleges, your time to show of your leadership skills on the field, in the theater or on the debate team, it was your time to make speeches and run for school president or team captain. It was your time to celebrate with your friends and siblings who are graduating. It was your time to go to the junior prom or participate in other junior year traditions.

Covid-19 has upset that apple cart, and you have not missed a beat. Each and every one of you has dug in. Each of you has admitted that yes, while this “sucks,” you will not let being at home with plans canceled derail your plans for the future.

The March and April exams were canceled, and then the June SAT was canceled - what did you do - give up? No, you agreed to look at the potential of taking the ACT. Your spring break college touring trip was canceled - did you give up? No, you have attended numerous online info sessions and tours - and when those did not help answer your questions, you went with me on a scavenger hunt to find the answers. Your recruiting trips were canceled - did you give up? No, you reached out to coaches and set up times to talk via zoom or on the phone.

You have used this time to dig in deep and have started to discover who you are and what is really important to you. You have honed skills you did not know you had. You have stayed on top of your schoolwork, (and some of you have taken on additional online classes) you have had zoom interviews with college admissions counselors, you have started to brainstorm and write your essays.

But what I am most proud of is what you have done with your “free time.”

You have:

  • set aside time to help others who are in need (delivering groceries, making sandwiches for the homeless and sewing masks to name a few)

  • reached out to friends and family members who may be lonely

  • tutored students who need extra support

  • attended workout zooms with your teammates

  • played endless games of monopoly with your younger siblings and endured another viewing of the Lion King (or other Disney movie) - that you secretly loved watching

  • changed your sheets, made your own bed, and helped out your families - some of you have learned how to clean your toilet - BRAVO!!!

But, most of all, you have allowed your self to try new things - you have learned to cook, play the guitar, write a screenplay, knit, or code. You have continuously impressed me with your motivation to grow and learn in a time when many things are uncertain.

You are moving through this world of unknowns with perseverance and grace.

For all of this and so much more, I am proud of you. Keep up the hard work, keep reaching for the sky. I can’t wait to see where it brings each of you.


Eydie Balsam


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