When we look back on the 20-21 school year, the impact of Covid will certainly not be a footnote, but rather it will be the headline that everyone remembers. Although it was the Class of 2020 that got the cool T-shirts, you know the ones where the “0” in the 20’s was a roll of toilet paper – it will be the Class of 2021 that were the true Covid impacted class. They not only lost the entire fourth quarter of their Junior year as a result of the Governor’s state-wide shut down, but they came back for their Senior year in an environment unlike anything any of us had ever dealt with – and they thrived!
Despite the fact that almost everything they knew about school at SHCTC had changed, the Class of 2021 truly rose to the occasion. Minus an eight-day shut down around the holidays, Southern Hills remained open in one fashion or another all year. We shifted their academics to on-line for a month at the end of the first semester. We made them wear masks the entire year. We took every other seat off of the cafeteria ta- bles, and put pool noodles in their place. We made them eat with their lab mates instead of whomever they wanted to eat with. We made them enter and exit the building differ- ently. We made them traverse the hallways differently. We did everything we could to make them stay physically apart from one another. Regardless of all the hardships we put upon them, the Class of 2021 just kept grinding, did what we asked and along the way took advantage of the many opportunities our present economy has offered to any- one willing to put in a good day’s work.
Personally, I just wrapped up my 25th year working in education and I can’t think of another class that has risen to the occasion quite like the Class of 2021. During un- precedented times, the Class of 2021 at Southern Hills stepped up and did what an ad- ministrator hopes every Senior Class will do – they led. They led by example and showed our Juniors how to work through adversity. Working through adversity is a life skill that will take them further than anything we could teach them about their program or their academic requirements. They made what could have been the worst year of my career, one of the best.
As a school administrator, every class leaves it mark on you – good or bad. Watching the Class of 2021 adjust to the circumstances, truly lead within our building, and then so many take advantage of an economy starving for good workers - reinforced my belief in the youth of today. If you are in a position of hiring, you would be well served to give an extra look at any applicant that comes across your desk with a Southern Hills resume, but if that appli- cant has “Southern Hills, Class of 2021” on their resume I would strongly suggest giving that applicant an interview – you will not be disappointed!