Farewell, For Now

Viraj Shankar

Joy. That’s what I want everyone to feel at this moment. It is a big ask, and certainly one that is hard for many of us to do. I certainly never pictured my senior year ending this way, with the only way to say goodbye through a farewell article. But here we are, suspended in reality, doing as best as we can with the cards we’ve been dealt. 

Asking to be joyful is a tall order. There are an infinite sum of negative things going on in our blue marble right now. From the coronavirus pandemic, to waves of police brutality, to increasing problems in mental health, it seems that 2020 is gearing up to be the most tumultuous year in American history since 1968. Joy is most certainly the strangest emotion to try and conjure up, given the set of bizarre, unusual circumstances.

But as I sit here, slowly weaving together my last article for The Dig, I can’t think of a more poignant way to show just how much this community means to me. Every part of me has grown stronger, more resilient, and more flexible through my time at OES. The memories of taking wetlands walks in Honors Bio with Peter, to camping with Rob and my Marine Ecology class, bring an effervescent tinge to my mind. And even as we are all sequestered in our homes, doing what we can to slow the spread of the virus, it’s the memories that keep my spirits high, even on the darkest of days.

Seniors- there is no good way to put this: our year was cut short. We were robbed of traditions and events that every senior class before us had experienced. We lost countless opportunities to make memories, and enjoy a few more months with our friends and teachers. But wallowing in such pain gets us nowhere. So I choose to look on the bright side. We’ve gotten the gift of spending more time with our families, and have become more creative in finding mediums to connect with each other without meeting face to face. We have become more adaptable to change, and thus are ready to take on even the greatest of global challenges that face us. Our ability to withstand this pandemic, separated but together, shows the true strength of our class.

These last few months have tested everyone in our community profoundly. They have pushed us to the limits on what can be done together, even as we are apart. Our teachers had to adjust their teaching material and content. Administrators had to find ways to keep our community together, through everything from Zoom calls to car parades. Yet all of this has shown that OES is a community that cannot be divided. And it gives me great hope that the future of our school is even brighter, given just how much we have been able to accomplish in this time.

Our world will continue to face crises, even after this one fades away. Juniors, I look to you to show everyone on how to lead us forward. The passionate, intellectual debate that I witnessed amongst the candidates running for student body president gives me tremendous faith that you are ready to lead, even during such an unprecedented time. Your fortitude and boldness will serve OES well in the years to come. And while I am saddened that I may not be there to see all of it, I am sanguine that you will create a community that is even more connected, focused, and driven than ever before. 

I am going to miss everyone in this community more than I can even imagine. The friendships, the ideas, and the experiences that I have cultivated here at OES are of an immeasurable length. I want to thank my teachers and my friends for helping me build an incredible high school career. Every time I remember OES, I think of the joy that it brought me. And as we move on, together, I hope that it will continue to bring all of you joy as well. 

Farewell, for now.

– Viraj