To the high school class of 2023,
By Mathew Holton
Superintendent, Chaffey Joint Union High School District
What a journey it has been. You have seen so many changes in the world around you, not the least of which was a global pandemic that significantly impacted your first and second years of high school while also showing how resilient human beings can be when confront with adversity.
As you prepare to graduate high school, and enter this next exciting phase in your life, it is our hope that the experiences of the past four years have set you up well. Graduation itself is a celebration steeped in tradition and an opportunity for you, your families, your friends, and your schools to take pride in all that you have accomplished.
For you, perhaps more than any other generation before you, that accomplishment came with great challenge. No other group of freshmen endured the kind of disruption you experienced back in March of 2020, and again, as sophomores, the following year. Even as “normalcy” returned during your junior year, it was a different kind of normal.
Through it all, your resiliency and ability to adapt with the times has shone through like a beacon, inspiring the rest of us and reaffirming that our future is in the best possible hands. There will be challenges ahead, but I am confident that you will embrace them with the courage and determination you have shown these past four years.
I am confident, too, that you will see high school as not an endgame in your educational journey, but a single – important – step forward. Whether that next step is community college, a four-year university, vocational training, an apprenticeship, or the military service, you have the opportunity to develop the skills and intellect to land fulfilling careers while contributing to your communities in so many different ways.
One contribution you already have made is helping to amplify the discussions around equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. Your voices have been powerful in once again getting those around you to work together to ensure that everyone has the opportunity for an enriched life.
You also have reminded us that young adulthood today is very different than it was for us. Society as a whole, including our schools, need to do a better job of helping students and their families navigate the heightened stresses and anxieties that are impacting their lives in profound ways. We don’t know entirely what those solutions look like, but I can promise you that our commitment has never been greater. We are determined to do everything in our power to make sure our students get the support they need.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to prepare you for what lies ahead. No one knows where your journey will ultimately take you but enjoy the ride. Don’t be afraid to share your dreams, pursue innovation and be the change you know you can be. You might fail at times, but it will make you, your ideas, and the world around you stronger and better for it.