Editorial: Class of 2022 qualified to give us advice

Published 6:41 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

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It’s that time of the year when people in my job are expected to wax poetically to members of the Class of 2022, to tell those who are graduating from high school and college that the world is a big, wonderful place just waiting for them to spread their sunshine all around, making it even brighter.

It may sound good, but it’s not reality. And I’m not about to tell any member of the Davie County High School Class of 2022 that all it takes is hard work and a positive attitude to be successful.

They already know that. And more.

These graduates have seen us – and the world – at our worst.

They saw us fight – an ugly, bitter fight – over whether to build a new high school campus. Sure, they were elementary and middle school students at that time, but believe that they were watching and listening to us all along.

They listened as we made claims we knew weren’t true, just trying to get our way.

They watched as we dug up dirt on one another, just trying to get our way.

They read our tirades against one another, trying to convince others that our way was the best way.

Yes, the Class of 2022 has seen us at our worst.

And being impressionable, many of those class members took to heart what those close to them had been espousing, giving them preconceived notions about that new building they entered as freshmen four yeas ago. The Class of 2022 is the first class to have spent all four years in the new school.

Being a high school freshman is scary enough, imagine adding more pressure because we were angry that we didn’t get our way, even because we were so glad we got our way that we had to flaunt it to what we considered the opposition.

Members of the Class of 2022 saw this, but they carried on. You’re nothing without a high school education, right? They had been hearing that all of their lives, so they carried on.

They adjusted to the new school. They were flourishing, adjusting to their new lives.

Then. Bam!

COVID comes along.

There’s no need to go through what they missed, or what they had to endure and learn new just to get that high school diploma. Their senior year was somewhat normal, but not really. They were making a new normal.

The rest of us, on the other hand, went bonkers.

It was like the new Davie High vs. renovating the old Davie High fight, but on a national, even worldwide level. We brought science into it, questioning whether it is real. Imagine a teacher trying to explain the scientific method to students – via a computer screen, mind you – with parents screaming in the background that science isn’t real. Imagine a teacher giving a history lesson, then getting a complaint because a parent didn’t think it was being fair to minorities.

Members of the Class of 2022 went through that. So, there’s no advice I can give to them; they are the ones really qualified to give us advice about ourselves.

We’ve set some examples. Not all of them were good, but we set examples, and all can be learning experiences.

It is true that we should learn daily that what we say matters, what we do matters, how we act matters, how we treat others matters, how we feel about ourselves matters.

But, members of the Class of 2022 already know that. Now it’s up to them to turn those learning experiences into giant rays of sunshine to make our glorious world a brighter place.

– Mike Barnhardt