Congratulations, Class of 2020. You are finally first! First to not get a senior prom. Or a college T-shirt day. Or a ditch day. Or a senior prank. Or a paper toss. Or a baccalaureate. Or a graduation, hah. But not only will you be the first, you will probably be the last too! Since kindergarten, we knew our grade was special — but no one could have predicted this level of tomfoolery. As we “do our FLOs” and “tune into our Zoom meetings” for our credit/no credit classes, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Alexa, play Marvin’s Room — this is gonna be a sad one.
Strolling through the quad on what was unknowingly our last week of high school, we reflect on both the good and the not so good times. We will miss Reese on his bike giving BMWs $40 tickets just for being BMWs. We will miss the admin cruising to the senior deck saying, “tell your friends there will be breathalyzing at the football game.” We will miss the GOAT letting us leave tutorial before the first bell even rings while kicking out the underclassmen because of “capacity.” We will miss having Senior Elimination in full swing, sacrificing friendships for the game. We will miss being packed into the student section and parting the sea or riding the rollercoaster. And yes, we will miss the carbon copy daily Schoology posts made by the librarians. But we do sincerely hope that students do all they can and stay inside to flatten the curve of overdue books.
Although we didn’t quite get to experience some of the most anticipated Paly traditions ever (oh, or get our diplomas), we still will never forget some of our best memories together. We won’t forget the outlandish comments exchanged with the Gatos fans while walking through their “memorable” parking lot, being heckled by staff and cops. We won’t forget when the juniors did not want to come into the park during what was supposed to be egg wars, but acted as though we were playing a wildly orchestrated game of hide and seek. We will never forget or understand how the PacMan float somehow placed first? Apparently there was a secret room… We won’t forget when one of our own carried a 2020 flag to the top of the senior deck during our freshman year, and we witnessed it being shred into hundreds of pieces. And we absolutely won’t forget every single “Class of 2020 sucks at Spirit Week,” because trust us, we would give anything to hear that just one more time.
It’s hard to imagine that those last few hours on that fateful Friday would possibly be the last time we got to see most of our classmates. The last time we got to cut a high school period or DIY-blend a Psych class. The last time we took a twenty minute “bathroom break” to simply sit on the deck and nap in the sun. The last time we skipped ahead in line at Trader Joe’s during lunch or begged our friend to buy us peanut butter cups. The last time someone asked where the Spikeball nets were (they have always been in freaking P-10.) The last time we got to roast the admin for taking away Paly Bachelor during our senior season. The last time we got to step on our (unfinished) senior deck, stare across the quad and belittle the underclassmen. The last time we got reprimanded for taking more than one snack from the Wellness Center. The last time we waved our Viking flag high while blasting country music from a boombox. The last time we were PAUSD students.
Class of 2020, we were robbed of many irreplaceable memories, but we also made it to a remarkable point in our lives as a class. Nothing can take away from the ways in which we’ve matured within the confines of the Paly gates. Maybe you finally conjured up the courage to talk to that special someone. Maybe you auditioned for the school musical and found a new passion. Maybe you got into your dream school, or maybe you didn’t. The little things do not matter in the grand scheme of things, because at the end of the day, we are all hardworking and dedicated Vikings who have worked arduously to make it to this moment in our lives and have dozens of things to be proud of. Some of us spent 13 years in PAUSD — who would have guessed this is how we would say farewell to the city and schools that raised us. But, as all good things must come to an end, we know that this is not a goodbye, but rather a “see you later.”
What we wish we knew going in: to cherish the exceptional and inspiring staff, to appreciate the world-class facilities we have for our use, to take in every fourth-quarter rush of a basketball game, to go out of our comfort zone and make new friends, to thank the people who helped us get to where we are today and to not take that last sunny day on the quad for granted. As our time at Paly has come to a close, we hope you underclassmen take a moment to appreciate the special experiences you have on campus, because you truly never know when it all might end. Let’s get one more Sko Vikes, and we’ll see you all at Zoom graduation.