We, your community, thank you, DCHS Class of 2020, for sacrificing the highlights of your youth for the safety of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To stem the spread of the coronavirus, school was shut down and you were forced to isolate yourselves at the very times in your life that would have been the most rewarding and most memorable.

You gave up the biggest social event of your high school years — prom. You gave up the opportunity to excel in spring sports during your final season. You gave up any opportunities to participate in the Drake Relays or State Track, Tennis or Golf meets.

The opportunity to win those final I ratings at State Solo and Ensemble Contest disappeared before your very eyes a few days before the event was scheduled.

You were stripped of the opportunity to perform in your final band, jazz band and choir concerts as well as large group contests.

You were robbed of the opportunity to attend Senior Awards Night and proudly walk to the podium to accept your well-deserved awards and scholarships. You have given up graduation parties — your own and those of your friends.

Whether you will have the opportunity to walk across the stage and be presented with your high school diploma in the presence of proud parents and grandparents remains to be seen.

But, because of your sacrifices, the residents of Davis County became a little safer in the face of a worldwide pandemic.

And, to your benefit, each of you became stronger individuals through the adversity that life brings.

Formal classes may have ended, but many of you, knowing that it was to your benefit, continued learning through the online resources presented by your teachers who didn’t let a pandemic stop them from teaching.

You have seen the world plunge into crisis mode, and you have grown to realize that your generation will be tasked with collaborating to solve the problems that have befallen your community, state, country, and world in the last few months.

Your talents and intellect are needed to create a better government, to advance medicine, to create a more humane and caring society, to build an economy that serves a broad spectrum of economic classes, to promote the arts which awaken our appreciation of humanity and give us a sense of beauty, and to deepen our spirituality, reminding us that there is a higher power upon which we must always rely.

If this world is going to become better, it must do so through community effort.

Work together, graduates, and forget those things that divide us.

Hold on to the values you have learned in church, school, and from your families and let those values become the foundation for all you do.

You have already learned the value of sacrificing for others, and though you have given up much, you are gaining perseverance and grit to get through the worst of times.

And while this moment in your lives is a struggle, it is memorable, impressionable, and will define you and your future.

We have every confidence, 2020 graduates, that you will show extraordinary strength, insight, and fortitude and make this world a better place for all of us.