Despite the different backgrounds from which we as East students come, we share some of the same hopes: that all of our loved ones will remain healthy and safe, that those we care about continue to have everything that they need to do so, and that we might overcome this challenge soon to once again share in the company of our friends. In the meantime, we can only do our best to prepare for the opportunities that we might have had and still might have. For example, I remain confident that Multi-Cultural Day and a new diversity-appreciation initiative that was to be released on that day will only be placed on hold until we arrive back in school and will, at that time, have the same effect that was originally intended. In addition, Student Government will continue to address issues with the school and district administrators that concern students in our transition to online learning and affect us when we do get back into school. The fight to keep the bathrooms of Cherry Hill East open during the school day will continue.
On a personal level, one of the people of greatest influence to me at Cherry Hill East once told me that “perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” Inside and outside of East, I have chosen to live by these words over the past few years. Optimism has given me the strength to persist in tough times as a student, a representative for my classmates, an athlete, and a friend. As an athlete, I seemed to push myself for years to qualify for meets that have now been canceled, leaving an emotional toll that I am still getting over. Facing the realistic possibility that I will not get another opportunity to wear the Cherry Hill East name on my chest as I cross a finish line, I can only once again turn to optimism, the force that has propelled me for so long. Remaining focused on running these past few weeks has made me even more motivated to take advantage of the races in which I might soon compete.
For me, “if” has turned to “when.” When I receive the chance to step up to the starting line once again, I will be ready. When I next speak to administration – next week through virtual means – about the problems of East students, I will use my voice. And most importantly, when I next get the opportunity to see my friends, I will be smiling with open arms.