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  • Writer's pictureScott Cameron

The Class of 2020: A Time for Creativity

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

My seniors just turned in their final video essays on how it feels to graduate. This assignment also represented the end of what I called “The Creativity Project” where we tried to explore the origins of creativity and explain what makes something or someone creative. I wasn’t sure how the pandemic would change the direction of the conversation, or how the Black Lives Matter protests would shape how they saw their individual role in improving our society. My mind was blown by how they made perfect sense out of a situation that was for me, just hard to believe. They expressed a clear and determined desire to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I’ve always known the resilience of children, but this year, as I watch, or imagine, my students graduate and go off into the world, I’ve never been so confident that things will change for the better, that this generation will find a simple solution to the world’s problems. Normally, I have my students print out their favorite quote from their essay and then I put them up in the hallways before the last week of school. I like to do it because I feel like I need to teach - lead good conversations - and then get out of the way. Here’s twenty of my favorite moments:

“High school is way more than reading boring books and taking tests. I know the class of 2020 is not done yet. We’ve changed the world so much, even during a global lockdown.”

“I think creativity in essence boils down to why we do things - why we constantly try to make things better, more efficient, faster. That idea of constant improvement is what drives people to be creative.”

“If someone were to have asked me at the beginning of the year what I thought I’d be doing on May 31st, I would never have imagined being in an abandoned parking lot blasting 2000s party music from my car with some of my closest friends to make up for our dearly departed senior prom, still six feet apart.”

“We might have ideas for our future, but the future is unpredictable. Rather than sit idly by and daydream about wealth and success, we must work for what we want.”

“Who am I without a school?”

“In times like these, we need creativity more than ever.”

“Creativity is rearranging your room for the fifth time because you need a change of scenery.”

“Creativity is making something wonderful out of something unexpected.”

“Graduation wasn’t like the movies tell you it should be, but the class of 2020 did it in our own creative and special way.”

“We can’t not take action.”

“Creativity does not mean being different. Being creative, to me, means you develop your own personality, beliefs, and set of ideals.”

“I’ve learned to count my blessings… blessings in disguise.”

“How does it feel to graduate? It feels unique. How many people can say that their graduation was unique?”

“I want to thank you, quarantine. Quarantine has taught me the beauty and sadness of time.”

“I’ve changed so much since March. I guess a global pandemic and an international human rights movement have that effect on people”

“Our lives are not a movie. Unlike them, we are not immune to pandemics or systemic racism. Our graduation would probably not entail our crush professing their love or a choreographed song and dance.”

“I know a link in my description probably won’t keep another Black person from being subject to overwhelming injustice… I can’t help but want to shut my eyes tight and clasp my hands over my ears because it’s just so much easier than to face a wildfire when you know that all you have is a small cup of water to throw forth… If our posts and our links and our steps and our shouts and our songs and our works of art … if they can reach one extra person, then it’s worth it…. It all lies in the hope that something, no matter how small, something good will come out of our present struggles. That glimmer of hope is enough to drive this nation into and through a revolution”

“It does not feel real to let go of something so unfinished.”

“We all fall victim to the unknown in one way or the other no matter what we do. But the unknown can also be motivation to learn and to grow and to change, for the worse or for the better. The unknown can be hope. The unknown can be redemption or unexpected friendships or life lessons that you never asked for but will never give up. I am scared of the unknown but I like it that way… Everything will change.”

“While it feels like the world around us is breaking down, we are creating a new way of being”

Scott Cameron

online professional development for high school English teachers

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