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OUR VIEW: Congratulations, Class of 2020

It was a little later than usual, but finally, hundreds of local graduates had a chance to cross the stage, receive their diploma, and start the next stage of their lives.

Last week, Callaway Stadium was about a quarter-full as Callaway, LaGrange and Troup High Schools celebrated their graduates. The in-person graduations had been pushed back due to COVID-19, but thanks to extra safety precautions, they were able to proceed about two months later than normal. Virtual graduations had taken place in June via Facebook.

The stadium was one-fourth full because each student received only four tickets. Typically, Callaway Stadium is standing room only for graduations, and even then you better get there early to get a good spot. The reduced crowd capacity helped keep people away from one another in this social distancing world we’re currently living in.

Typically, each May, we try to write something inspiring to graduates. We usually tell them to soak it up and to enjoy their final memories with friends before they start to go their separate ways.

And all of those things still ring true. Most of us remember life at 18 or 19 years old and thinking we had it all figured out. But college or not, life speeds up drastically at that point with work and family. The days, weeks, months and years start flying by.

We recommend graduates hang on. Troubles lay ahead, but they will pass. 

With that said, the truth is we’re not sure what kind of world these 18 and 19-year-olds are venturing into. It’s new territory for all of us.

How different will things be a year or two down the road, hopefully in a post-COVID world? Maybe everything will return completely to normal, but we doubt it. Some companies have realized that working remotely helps profit more than having a large office space.

Some have added other policies that may not ever change. It’s hard to know. So, graduates, know that we’ll be learning with you as things change following this pandemic.

If you’re college bound, we urge you to enjoy these last few weeks of summer. For those students, we hope many of you will find jobs in LaGrange and Troup County and return to better your hometown.

Others are heading toward the armed forces, and we thank them for serving our country.

And we’re sure many others already have a job lined up for a career they are pursuing.

No matter what path you’ve chosen, we wish you luck as you work toward your dreams. Congratulations to the class of 2020.