2020: The Year of Silver Linings

Isabel Price

Sometimes when the unexpected occurs, we realize what we truly have.

Aardvarks, I think we can all agree that this year has been a tough one. Despite everything that has happened, I wanted to end the year with some positive thoughts. You guys had a lot to say, so feel free to just scroll through the many responses, but I figured we could use all the joy we can get. Here is a collection of some of our happiest moments, things we were grateful for, and positive memories from this year none of us will ever forget.   

A collection of happy moments and positive memories 🙂

Aardvark Pride – To the OES Grads: We’re all just so proud of you!!!

Hearing the class of ’20 seniors cheer at the OES soccer field on graduation night 🙂

Watching the joyful graduation of our 2020 Aardvarks

Socially distanced graduation.

The senior parade that we held on campus was very memorable and positive. We planned this once sports were cancelled and school in person suspended. It was a Party parade and everyone was so happy!

I got into my dream college! So excited for the next 4 years and grateful to the OES community for preparing me for them.  -congratulations! Best of luck to you in college & beyond

Going to support the boys’ Basketball team in Coo’s Bay and watching them win the State Championship. (Right before lock down!)

Being able to still practice sports at school this year ~a big plus for sure!

Friends: We’re making it through because of you. Miss you guys!

Watching Netflix shows on the phone with a friend I’ve grown closer to.

Awesome zoom and facetime calls with tons of family and friends

Getting together to celebrate a friend’s birthday this fall.

Seeing my friends

Going to zoo lights in the comfort of a warm car with amazing friends, instead of freezing my butt off! Yes Kirby, that was fun for me too, minus the 1.5 hour car line  🙂

having zoom lunch meet with friends

Family: So happy to see you more often and incredibly grateful we’re all safe. Also-I’m so sick of you.

More time with family and less time in the car

Cooking and baking with family.

Playing “socially-distanced” golf with my 82 year-old father.

Spending more time with my family.

Spending way too much time with my sister

Getting a lot of practice driving with my dad. We play music, visit historic places, and talk about life.

Self-reflection: Finding peace in the quiet moments

Clean air – blue skies; time to slow down, think, write, reflect, be outside, notice the seasons

I was able to reflect a lot about who I am as a person and become a more mature person

 Hiking, biking, and climbing the South Sister in Bend, OR.

Taking the limiting situation of the year and getting outside more

Teaching myself guitar.

Unexpected joy: #onlyin2020

Harry Styles covering vogue, Taylor Swift releasing her albums -omg yes

Drive-by Birthdays! Our neighbors have taken to driving by each other’s homes to celebrate each other on their birthdays. It is especially meaningful to the children who live in those homes.

Got my dream job, moved to Portland, bought my first house! -wow, go you!

We took a trip down to southern Oregon and seeing how much of our state I didn’t even know about was really cool.

I graduated from my Chinese school at the top of my class. 

My favorite memory was finishing my summer math course and getting an A. 

I liked learning how to bake no-knead artisan bread, and I got good at scheduling it around teaching from home, so I could bake on my class/lunch break and have the smell of baking bread along with fresh bread that afternoon. Mmmmmmm!

Blessings – there’s truly so much to be grateful for


My family for continuing to put up with me. My dogs. A stable house and other crucial resources. 

I am grateful for my parents and brother who, after all this time, I still haven’t gotten sick of living with

I’m grateful for the extra time with my two kids—a silver lining of the quarantine 

So much time hanging out with my sweet dogs!

It’s made 2020 so much better to have my brother back at home with us, doing college remotely here. Sometimes my mom and I sit in on the history lectures to get the full tuition’s worth. -that’s hilarious and actually a really good idea


friends and family, connections, conversations

All of my friends and family helping me thrive.

OES-Shoutout to all you amazing teachers and faculty!

The OES community and the support it provides for me

The resources available to us to continue learning in a safe environment.

Having the chance to be with students, colleagues, and others whom I admire and to grow as a teacher.

That I was able to go to a school that has great remote learning.

My teachers. They have all done more than enough for all of us this year. It’s absolutely insane.

What really matters

I’m so grateful to have a steady job, a roof over my head, and health insurance.

Time to reflect on what is truly meaningful in my life- my health, my family & friends, and the joy of living with less.

My dear friends and family, my home, school, food, water, and so much more

I am grateful for my pets, my education, and my friends.

I’m grateful for my community, health, and family. And I’m grateful that OES has been able to stay open to provide support to their students, their families, and their employees. Most importantly, I’m grateful that people like you are asking about the positives – because there really are many things for which to be grateful.

The financial and emotional ability to self-isolate

Staying healthy!

My home, my family, and my close friendships.

Frontline Workers: The Hero’s of 2020

People fighting for change. Health care workers, teachers, and anyone else who helped to keep this year going. -dedicating this article to all of you <3

Aardvarks overcoming adversity – you guys are amazing, we love and support you.

I am grateful that we will learn from the challenges we have gone through and become better people.

I’m grateful that no one that I know was impacted very badly by Covid-19 

I’m grateful for myself because I have been working towards achievable goals all year that emotionally hurt me, and won’t even be worth it in the end.

We had a strange silver lining for our family farm this year. We saw a huge expansion of our meat community supported agriculture program. Because I wasn’t commuting 55 miles a day, I had some more time, and I organized a cookbook and recipe flyers for the people in the CSA, and that was really popular. We are helping those who do want to eat meat learn to be more environmental and ethical. I’m grateful that we can help to feed so many people and inspire them to cook at home more confidently, while I get to develop my creativity in a new direction, with recipe finding, testing, and design. This year has been tough, but I’m trying to seize on those positive aspects and make something good out of them.

Giving back: Aardvarks using their power for good to help and uplift others in 2020

I have been there to listen, support, and encourage my colleagues and friends.

Cooking for my family everyday

A photo slideshow of great memories we have together for my sister -that is so sweet, I’m sure she loved it

Sent tea and Oregon-sourced food and tea to a high school friend (we reconnected after pandemic hit over zoom) who is undergoing chemotherapy

I’ve checked in with family and friends, and made sure that everyone’s doing okay.


I got my friends gifts throughout the year. Made blankets for the Randalls children’s hospital for the drive Izzy P organized. 🙂 -thanks for participating!

I brought my sister’s family a bunch of groceries when they were all super sick with strep throat and couldn’t leave their house.

I helped build a ramp in South Carolina for a woman who had become wheelchair ridden.

Bought gift cards for children in need for Christmas

I made dog toys for the Oregon Humane Society.

My family and I donated to Feeding America to help support families in need during the holidays.

Our family put together a “Holiday tree kit” (complete with a live tree, ornaments, and gift cards) for a family whose father or mother is incarcerated.

I have tried to keep in touch with all my friends this year and I would say just bringing people together is something commendable. -absolutely agree

I’ve tried to help out my friends with school work when they needed it.

Baked bread and shared with my neighbors

Sent cards to people just to say hi

I have done my best to support a friend who lost a loved one.

I, with the help of a neighbor friend, delivered personalized Halloween goodie bags to about 35 families (70-ish kids) in our neighborhood on Halloween. It was so fun! We even received hand drawn thank you letters from two of the kids (ages 6 and 3) for including them even though we don’t know them. Making an impact on young people through kindness was the best!! -that’s awesome! Way to spread the joy 🙂

I brought my sister’s family a bunch of groceries when they were all super sick with strep throat and couldn’t leave their house.

Started a conversation about racial equity with my family, opening the door for future conversations about privilege and we started a book club!

I edited lots of papers -# teacher relatable 

I’ve sewn masks for family and friends, and done all the shopping and errands for my 90-year old mother so she doesn’t have to go out to stores. I do deliveries to any of our friends and customers who can’t leave home because of their own or family members’ health.

I’ve made dinners for a few friends who have gone through some really challenging times this year.

I helped build a ramp in South Carolina for a woman who had become wheelchair ridden.

We did a coat drive and filled two suv vehicles with coats and warm gear.

I made dog toys for the Oregon Humane Society

In summary, you all are amazing people and I’m so grateful to be a part of the OES community. Aardvarks all around the world have shown this year that when faced with adversity, one must keep moving forward with a positive mindset of helping others while maintaining hope for the future. With that being said, I’m really looking forward to the ball dropping in Times Square and the start of a new year. 2021 – we’re so ready for you!! Have a happy new year, everyone. And don’t forget the many silver linings from this year. 

To read about more ways to bring this year’s lessons into 2021, check out this article by Anna Blake!

Image credit: Your Poker Dream.com