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To the Students Gearing Up for the School Year,

I get it, this year is weird.

Your only concern should be what colored notebooks to buy and if your best friends are in your classes. Instead, you have to keep track of your mask and stay six feet away from everyone.

The world is asking a lot from you right now, and you’ve handled it with grace since March. I’m sure there were tough days, especially when activities got taken away, like camp and sports. But there is still time to make the most of this year, and it’s up to you to overcome adversity.

You have been asked to grow up quickly this year, just to survive the stresses of no social interaction, no field trips, and no outlets. I am so impressed by the level of maturity I have witnessed in kids and young adults who have not crumbled under the changes but have risen to the occasion.

My kickboxing coach is a man filled with wisdom, and one of my favorite theories of his is “Be the river, don’t be the rock.” A rock shows strength by withstanding the water but is unwilling to change to its surroundings. It never evolves. It lives and dies a rock. Water is constantly flowing, winding its way through rocks and anything else in its way because it adapts and overcomes.

Be that student that overcomes this strange year and evolve into a better version of yourselves. I am so happy to see the back-to-school photos all over social media, whether it’s in the classroom or in the bedroom on Zoom.

Soak in every moment you can and stay strong in the face of change. One day, your generation is going to change the world.

Much Love,

Maddie