Honoring the best way possible


Normally late April would see the school year winding down, students excited by the warmer temperatures. Student-athletes would be running the streets and neighborhoods, and seeking their best around the track. The tennis court would be alive with the thwip, thwip of a racket making contact with the ball, while golfers would be teeing off in sometimes sunny and dry and sometimes muddy and challenging terrain, looking for that par or better on each hole.

These weekends would bounce with the excitement of grand marches and prom, juniors and seniors and their dates dressed in their finest and ready to dance all night in decorated surroundings, then bring in the dawn with the after-prom party. Keeping each other safe from COVID-19 has taken all that away from every student, and especially the seniors.

Little did they know their last senior nights for sports and other activities already took place in the fall or winter. Prom is off. We don't know what can be put together for a socially-distanced graduation ceremony.

For those who attend school or who have children, even grandchildren in school, and even for those who never miss a community gathering and love to see the markings of time in which the new year begins in late August and the countdown happens in May, it might seem that the clock has stopped mid-pulse.

The poet Allison Joseph, a professor at Southern Illinois University who lost her husband several months ago, said this week, "I feel like the whole country needs grief counseling, and we're not getting it."

The community is stepping up for our area 2020 seniors in several ways. One initiative that has taken off quickly is a Facebook group called "Adopt an area Senior." Founder Jodi Rezac-Bonner said, "I made this group because I thought it would be neat to send a senior in our area a card or shower them with gifts; this is a hard time for all of our seniors."

Over 700 people have adopted the majority of the seniors whose loved ones posted their photos, activities, interests and future plans on the site. Adopters are sending cards, letters, gift cards, gifts, and other things to encourage and cheer the students as they're missing the rites of passage they have anticipated for a long time. More than one party can adopt a senior, and some businesses have stepped up, too.

Seniors aren't the only ones missing a sports season, competing in speech and music activities, or just hanging with their friends. We know this is tough on all the kids, on adults who live alone (and possibly some who don't) and that there are career, financial, emotional and physical consequences to social distancing. Not everyone has family in their households, but have instead chosen family among friends.

This is hard.

But, there is light and hope at the end of this tunnel. There is. And we're told by the people who know that it involves all of us coming together through this adversity, to watch out for each other at a distance. To wash our hands, stay at least six feet apart, wear face masks when out in public, stay home as much as possible, venturing out singly for necessary errands, spend time in the outdoors when possible, and cough into your elbow. Did we mention washing your hands?

Thank you for your support of the Estherville News and our coverage during this unprecedented time.


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