The 2020 legacy

The Class of 2020 at Franklin High School has come together to celebrate its achievements in a different way, one that will certainly be unforgettable

Senior+boys+at+Franklin+%28Mass.%29+High+earned+viral+status+with+their+video+performance+of+%22I+Want+It+That+Way%E2%80%9D.+by+the+Backstreet+Boys.

Emma Nicholson

Senior boys at Franklin (Mass.) High earned viral status with their video performance of “I Want It That Way”. by the Backstreet Boys.

Emma Nicholson, Franklin High

“Memorable.” 

When asked to describe their high school experience in one word, this is the word that the majority of Franklin (Mass.) High School seniors, including myself, would use to encapsulate our time at 218 Oak Street.

Among the top contenders were “fun-filled,” “fast,” “challenging,” and “growth.” But above all, us seniors are thinking about the way that these four years will always be remembered in our life. And that, in and of itself, is special. 

But in early March, high school for 2020 seniors became a new kind of “memorable,” when a global pandemic struck, cancelling the remainder of our senior year and the activities that come with it. We did not get to experience our senior banquet, senior week celebrations, college decision day, and even graduation will be modified this year due to social distancing regulations. 

When seniors were asked to describe their feelings towards losing the end of senior year, a gamut of words were used, everything from “heartbroken” to “devastated” to “crushed.” 

Yet the 2020 legacy will not be defined by this pandemic. It will be defined by our resilience as a class, to overcome obstacles, and get creative in the face of challenges.

Franklin High School is no exception to this creativity, as students have been rolling out countless projects and ideas, sharing them with the community, and doing our best to remain positive during this trying time. Instead of focusing on what was lost, we will focus on what they are making out of this time, and celebrate it along with all of their memorable high school achievements.

Emma Nicholson

A drive around Franklin greatly demonstrates the way that the community has come together to celebrate graduating seniors. Lawn signs were made to honor students, in addition to various banners marking the homes of seniors. Each Friday night between 8-8:20, the lights to the football stadium are turned on, in honor of the Class of 2020. There is also a larger banner displayed near the field, reading the names of our entire graduating class. These small acts of kindness for the senior class serve as great reminders that we are being celebrated, despite not physically being in school. 

One of the first creative projects to come out of this quarantine at FHS included the senior boy’s music video to the Backstreet Boys, “ I Want It That Way,” which gained popularity with local news networks, including WCVB Channel 5. Typically, senior boys will create a “senior boys dance” to be performed at a school assembly, but given that seniors will not return to school, the boys had to get creative. 

The video was headlined by class president Danny Harrington, vice president Chorr-Kin Chin, and senior Justin Flaherty, all of whom contributed to the creation of the viral masterpiece. Students and families from Franklin and local towns greatly enjoyed this video and the positivity it brought during an otherwise dull and difficult time. There has been talk of a senior girls video coming soon, which undoubtedly will be just as creative and enjoyable for students.

Emma Nicholson

Earlier on in March, the FHS Peer Leaders decided to get creative with their creation of Virtual Spirit Week. Organized by senior Peer Leaders Katie Nguyen and Carly Alston, “Virtual Spirit Week” was a great opportunity for students to stay involved in the community and gain points for their respective class. Spirit Week days included “Mother Nature Monday,” “TikTok Thursday,” and “Franklin Friday.” 

After a successful first virtual spirit week, Peer Leaders decided to go for Round 2, gaining even more participation from students. 

Headlined by the theater department and performing arts students, the FHS tradition of OSKEY will carry on this year, and will be virtually presented May 22 at 7 p.m. This will be an evening of entertainment for the FHS community, celebrating (and poking fun at) memories from the senior’s last four years. The FHS yearbook staff has also been working hard to put together a video honoring the senior class and their future plans that will be released in the near future. 

A sign at the Franklin High football field lists the entire Class of 2020. (Emma Nicholson)

And even more exciting, for the more than 400 high school seniors at Franklin High School, is our graduation, which, though adapted, will be taking place. Although there are some details still in the works, the class officers, administration, and school committee have been working extremely hard on planning an adapted version of graduation. The 2020 graduation ceremony for FHS seniors will take place on June 5, and will be a mix of pre-recorded speeches and honors, in addition to a live parade component and presentation of diplomas. 

“From what I’ve seen of FHS,” says one member of the senior class, “The Class of 2020 is banding together to not only support each other more sincerely than ever before, but also being extremely creative about ways to commemorate their accomplishments and journeys over the past 4 years.” 

Many students, including myself, are feeling grateful for the ways that the community has become so creative during this time, and are looking forward to graduation day.

Courtesy

Ultimately, this creativity and willingness to adapt is the way that we will leave our mark on high school. To quote another FHS senior, “People will see the Class of 2020 as being resilient.” 

Much of this resiliency is rooted in the students, as we have been finding ways to stay positive during this time. When surveyed, many students stated that they have been working hard on their schoolwork, finding a routine, and virtual interactions with friends and classmates have helped seniors find joy during a difficult time. Others have resorted to simply holding a positive mind-set.

“To stay positive I’ve just been telling myself that things will get better soon,” said one senior. 

Without a doubt, the Class of 2020 will always remember the year we graduated high school, due to the obvious, and devastating nature of the situation. But beyond remembering the crisis we are facing, we will remember the way that the community came together to celebrate us. 

We will remember the non-traditional graduation, the lawn signs, the videos made. We will remember the disappointment we faced, but we will more significantly remember the joy we felt to see the people around us continue to show love and support.

Though the memories from senior year may look different, the Class of 2020 will not allow our high school achievements to be defined by this crisis, and we will continue to make the end of their senior year as memorable as possible. 

Senior boys at Franklin (Mass.) High earned viral status with their video performance of “I Want It That Way”. by the Backstreet Boys. (Emma Nicholson)

–May 18, 2020–