Congrats, Class of 2021 and everyone

The Editorial Board recognizes the graduating class and the Temple community for withstanding the challenges of the pandemic.

Temple University: we did it. We made it to the finish line in our third consecutive semester living through a pandemic.

This academic year, Temple community members dealt with uncertainty about whether life will return to normal, concern for the health of loved ones and grief and loss as COVID-19 claimed the lives of 3,115,828 people across the globe. As a nation, we also witnessed instances of police brutality and carried stress and trauma from a historical presidential election followed by a deadly insurrection against the United States Capitol.

Graduating from college is a momentous accomplishment in and of itself, yet the class of 2021 is doing it amid a global crisis that is constantly changing our way of life.

Despite the detours, like shifting between in-person and online classes in the Fall 2020 semester, moving from residence halls and off campus apartments and back to the suburbs, being tested for COVID-19 multiple times and missing 21st birthdays and other rites of passage due to the the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finally at the end of the academic year and end of the road for Temple‚Äôs graduating classes. 

This last year, Temple community members suffered contracting COVID-19 and having to stay in quarantine housing, family members dying from COVID-19 and devastating losses in Philadelphia. 

Although we all dealt with these painful incidents differently, took divergent paths and moved at different paces, we ended up at the same spot, somehow or another: the end of this year.

While many students look forward to their first semesters mostly in person since last March, graduating seniors hope for better job prospects as the economy recovers, more in-person events this summer and no more Zoom classes. 

On top of managing full and part-time course loads and activities outside of school, students carried the burden of vigilantly monitoring their health and protecting others, a heavy responsibility for adolescents and young adults. 

Student organizations managed to remain active even when they could not meet in person. Every student, staff member and Temple community member who worked tirelessly to continue operations virtually or in person under these conditions deserves to celebrate.

Today, at least, 487, 961 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Philadelphia, 28.9 percent of the United States population is fully vaccinated and everyone 16 years or older is eligible to be vaccinated in Philadelphia.

As we begin to return to some in-person operations after this last year, the Editorial Board is thankful for our faculty and staff for being flexible and adapting their syllabi online and for the essential workers at Temple for keeping this university afloat. 

Lastly, we acknowledge the student body for following public health guidance, and congratulate the class of 2021, a class that will go down in history for their perseverance, for simply crossing the finish line.

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