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Every graduate has a story

The COVID-19 quarantine is especially tough on students set to graduate this spring. 

For high school seniors, it has taken away prom, their last chance at sports, concerts and musicals, and senior traditions unique to each school. As they wait to hear whether they’ll have an in-person graduation in June, some relatives have canceled travel plans to be here for it. And with talk of a second wave of coronavirus in the fall, longer-range plans are being questioned as well.

College graduates-to-be already know their May commencements will be replaced by virtual ones, or postponed until the end of summer. As these students squirm under the stress of final exams and papers, they may also be squirming under their families’ roofs at a time in their lives when they would rather spread their wings. Meanwhile, they’re applying for jobs in one of the worst markets ever. Many employers have cut their staffs and don’t know when they’ll be able to hire again.

Both high school and college seniors are missing out on bonding with classmates during the home stretch, a sweet time when cliques often melt into class unity.

These students are enduring challenges no one alive today has experienced before. We at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News want to honor them in the only way we can — by telling people about them in the newspaper.

Therefore, we have taken up an idea proposed by our columnist Diane Chase: We want to publish a short, 150-word story on each local graduate, both high school and college.

It’s a chance for every member of the Class of 2020 to be known by the greater community.

We plan to print these mini-articles in two special sections: one for local college graduates on May 16 and one we already print every year for high school graduates, appearing this year on June 20. In addition, we plan to include as many of them as possible in the pages of the Enterprise, a few at a time as they come in.

It’s a big project, with hundreds of students’ stories, but with a little help from them and their schools, it’s doable.

Each article will focus on a student’s past, present and future: who they were in school, how they feel about graduating amid this pandemic, and where they are going from here. Students may choose to write their own articles, or they can answer questions concisely and leave the writing to us. Diane Chase and Saranac Lake High School alumnus Michael Miller have volunteered as writer-editors for this project.

Every high school in the greater Tri-Lakes area is participating, and we have given them a letter to email to each senior, explaining how it works. Paul Smith’s College and North Country Community College are also emailing their graduates a letter from us, inviting them to participate. They will email their stories or answers to us at 2020adkgrads@gmail.com. High schools will send photos of the seniors; college graduates will have to send in their own.

We also extend the invitation to any local student graduating from any college anywhere. We can’t necessarily reach you through your college, but we want to publish your story, too, so please send us your story or tell us concisely about your past, present and future. Again, we’re at 2020adkgrads@gmail.com, or call Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley at 518-891-2600 ext. 22.

One last thing — deadlines. College graduates, since your commencement is coming right up, we need your stories right away, by Wednesday, May 6. High schoolers, your deadline is Wednesday, June 10, but we’d like to get them as soon as possible so we can start running them in the paper. We may follow up if we haven’t heard from you by mid May.