The spring of 2020 has not unfolded as planned for anyone. Hard stop. End of sentence. But imagine experiencing the wildly unforeseen events of this new year as a high school senior, contemplating the road ahead, wherever that might lead. Then the world is swept up in the tsunami of a pandemic, and everything feels…different. Classes are transitioned into virtual gatherings. After-school sports are cancelled. College classes may or may not be held in-person this fall.

Nevertheless, the Class of 2020 persisted. Persevered. And will soon emerge on the other side of graduation. Even if they don’t get to toss their caps en masse into the brazen blue sky, they have still reached a milestone.


To highlight this topsy-turvy experience, we offered Monterey Mishek, a member of the 2020 graduating class from Roseville Area High School an opportunity to address this year’s grads.

Class of 2020,

What a year, a truly bizarre year. This wasn’t a situation we anticipated to be thrown into, but here we are. I wanna congratulate all of the 2020 students for continuing to be strong individuals through this difficult time.

I’m sorry we couldn’t walk the stage together or have our last prom. I’m sorry we couldn’t look forward to our final sports seasons and spend time with the people we’ve grown up with these past years. It hasn’t been easy. It’s hard to know we’ve worked tirelessly for those moments, moments we won’t experience. It’s difficult to move on without closure, without that sense of achievement.

But I hope this pandemic knows that it doesn’t define us. We’re bigger than it. We continue to find pride in who we are and what we believe in as a class. We believe in each other. I’ve never felt more proud to be a senior.

When we look back at this, we’ll remember it as a challenge – but one we overcame. Our class has continued to roll with the punches and show this pandemic who’s boss. We’ve all grown stronger together even though we’re apart.

I thank all of the families, communities and schools that have comforted us through this time and have helped us to keep pushing forward to achieve our goals. I thank all of them for the time they have put into us throughout the years to aid us in becoming the powerful people we’ve become today. We’ve learned how valuable our memories and experiences are, and how we can continue to strive for success through uncertain times. That’s what makes the class of 2020 unbelievable… We’re fighters.

Seniors, continue to be the good people you are today, and spread that to others. I hope you have all found a sense of closure during this time and know that our story is far from over: We’re simply writing a new chapter. With that, I once again congratulate every single one of you and hope to see you later. We are senior strong.

~ Monterey Mishek, 2020 Graduate

video by Alauna Yust

In addition, three Hill-Murray seniors reflect on how the closure of school – and the abrupt end to their sports seasons – has impacted their final year in high school, a time that’s typically filled with social activities, spring dances and opportunities galore for students to root for their home teams.

“[The pandemic has] definitely had a big impact, but I don’t think it’s defined my year,” says Hill-Murray senior and soccer captain Kenny Larmie. “I’d rather look at senior year and instead of focusing on all the things that COVID has taken away, I’d rather look at senior year and focus on all the memories we’ve made over the last [four] years or so.”


Saint Paul’s Dugsi Academy – which will soon be rebranded as Midway Academy – primarily served Somali students. Discover how the school’s teachers and administrators have gotten creative in finding ways of serving students despite a lack of resources that bigger school districts have ta their disposal. 

The closures of schools across the state has also provided an opportunity for intergenerations connection between kids and their grandparents, who can relieve parents trying to juggle working, teaching and parenting from home. 

In the time of the coronavirus, Minnesota’s arts educators have gotten creative in their approaches to keeping students inspired and motivated to continue pursuing even the most social of artistic genres. Find out how they’re leveraging digital technologies to keep students drawing, dancing, singing and performing.