Now that members of Whitehall-Yearling High School's class of 2020 have turned their tassels, I wanted to congratulate the graduates and their understandably proud families.
First, to our seniors: Alongside all the congratulations and kudos you're receiving – which are well-deserved – I'm sure you're also receiving apologies that your graduation ceremonies varied from the normal pomp and circumstance and that your last semester in high school was not marked by the good kind of excitement.
While these past few months have been far from normal, I hope you know they do not define your academic career, and in no way do they diminish your many accomplishments.
In fact, your graduation in a time of so much uncertainty only will make you stronger as you enter the next stages of your lives, here in Whitehall and beyond.
This situation may not be ideal, but success is not about the fall – it's about how you get back up.
As you take your next steps and overcome this challenge, know that the Whitehall community is behind you.
Second, to the families of graduates: Congratulations on your accomplishments, too. I've lived in Whitehall with my family for nearly four decades, so I've had a front-row seat as our four children made their own way through Whitehall City Schools.
In the best of circumstances, helping a young student through the ups and downs of school and coming of age can be a daunting task. Because of recent events, your support role became even more important, and you deserve to be celebrated for your students' accomplishments.
Above all else, recent events have highlighted the importance of being there for one another, in times of celebration and otherwise.
While most of us will not be able to celebrate with our seniors and their families in person, we are here for you, we are beyond proud of you – and we can't wait to see what you do next.
Kim Maggard is mayor of Whitehall.