Savannah Leigh May
Savannah May - Graduation Address - June 10, 2020
Brandeis has always felt like a home, even through social distancing (maybe even more so). Losing the opportunity to go to school has made me appreciate school even more. I know it has for some other people too. There’s a saying: “You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it.” Not only does that apply to stay-at-home orders, but to graduation as well.
I am one of the people in my class that has been here since Kindergarten. Many people have left over the years, and many people have joined. Some have even come back, whether to rejoin the class or just to visit.
The first time someone left was around Kindergarten. Their name was Misha, and it wasn’t really a big deal then. I was too young to recognize the loss. The second time I remember someone leaving was third grade. One of our classmates, named Noah, left. That time, most of us knew what was going on (or at least I did). I missed Noah and was very aware of his leaving. At the end of fifth grade, a big chunk of the people who had been here since Kindergarten left. I was very aware of each change as people left. As kids left, the class would change.
Another example of not knowing what you have until it’s gone is how our lineup of teachers has changed. Many teachers have left and many have joined, and one took a break from teaching because of an injury. Some have even switched grades. I’ve had some teachers leave after I have been in their grade, and we haven’t had contact. Some of the staff have left too. However, we see staff come back to visit who have left every once in a while. In that way, we remain connected.
Our class has changed over the years, and it might be hard for us to remain a community after we leave Brandeis, but I believe we will succeed in maintaining a community. The Coronavirus caused our community to feel so disconnected, yet because of adapting to Corona, our community found ways to unite and remain connected. I realize that after this experience of being isolated from peers and the school, this pandemic has also helped me see how connections are still possible. So while we don’t know what we have until it’s gone, we know how to adjust and find connections in our community.