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After Coronavirus Pandemic, High School Graduates Hope For Kinder, Humbler World

A young man poses with a kitten in a selfie, a young woman in her senior photo
Bryson Jackson, Emily Kemp
Booker High School graduate Bryson Jackson (left) and Theo, the kitten he adopted during the coronavirus pandemic, and Emily Kemp (right) who is graduating from Robinson High School in Tampa.

 
From job loss, to balancing work from home to the isolation of following stay-at-home orders, coronavirus has changed our everyday lives. WUSF is giving you a voice to share those experiences.
 
Today, three graduating seniors share their hopes for what the world will look like in the future.

 
"I'm Emily Kemp. I am 18 years old. I'm graduating this year from Robinson High School in Tampa, Florida. Thinking back to a year ago today, I definitely would not have assumed that I'd be potentially having a graduation ceremony or taking the last two months of my senior year from home, talking to my teachers through a webcam, nothing like that. It shows you how quickly life can change and how it's important to really hold onto the things you value in life." 

A senior picture of N'dia Webb
Credit N'dia Webb
N'dia Webb is planning to attend Howard University in the fall.

"My name is N'dia Webb, I'm 18 years old and I'm graduating in the International Baccalaureate program at Strawberry Crest High School in Dover.

"I hope that from this experience, people are a bit more willing to work together on things and it sort of humbles them. When the coronavirus first came out, and everyone was hoarding their supplies -- I feel like with the complete disregard for what other people need, too. So maybe taking into consideration that, you know, we're all going through some form of this.

"I hope people have a lot more sympathy for the customer service workers, or even our janitorial staff. People who have been invisible. And now we rely on them the most to keep things going."

"My name is Bryson Jackson. I'm 18 and I've just graduated from Booker High School in Sarasota.

"What I learned about myself is that I crave social attention a lot more than I thought I did. I thought I was just popular and that was that, you know, whatever. But (being social) is really something that you need and not even just me. I think a lot of people are really suffering from being isolated.

"And what I learned about the world is the internet gets really mean when no one has anything else to do. I swear, so many people have been cancelled and harassed over the internet since the quarantines started, it's crazy.

CORONAVIRUS POSTCARDS: Your Stories About Dealing With The Coronavirus Pandemic

"This is kind of far-fetched and being a realist, I know it's likely not to happen. But I would just like some more solidarity between people.

"After having to come together for something as major as this, hopefully it kind of opened some eyes. And, you know, made us realize that, you know, yeah, we all definitely had some differences and some struggles and situations to iron out, don't get me wrong, but at the end of the day, you know, we are all human. And we all go through things. We have emotions, we all have people we care about, and let's just embrace that fact first."

This story is produced in partnership with America Amplified, an initiative using community engagement to inform local journalism. It is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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