Standing Up: How 2020 Has Encouraged Us to Stand

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People gather at FHSD’s Black Voices Matter march over the summer.

By Ashlynn Perez

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, America had little idea of what was coming.

First, it was a pandemic. COVID-19 swept across the world, causing sickness and death, as well as global panic as nations went into a shutdown. FHN closed for fourth quarter, sending students into quarantine, and questions circulated throughout the summer as to how FHSD would recover. It ended with the decision to give students the choice of returning in-person or doing school online – offering the first year of online instruction in the district. Still, school wasn’t the same: nearly a fourth of the school stayed at home, and students who returned were met with mask protocol and quarantine mandates.

The death of George Floyd on May 25 sparked outrage at police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement that was prominent after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown grew to even more strength. The heartbreak of an unjust death caused grief in black communities and nationwide unrest, growing to huge protests and riots in cities across the country.

The 2020 presidential election in November was a process both familiar and foreign. Due to COVID-19, mail-in ballots were available for the first time, allowing a new format to voting that was helpful to some and confusing to others. Still, division in the U.S. seemed high, with both sides bashing each other and advocating for either Biden or Trump. Hurtful things were flung across the party aisle, and this division seen in so many elections prior to this year were exacerbated by the precarious state of the nation and the strong use of social media to advocate.

This year has affected the nation and the school. The class of 2020 didn’t get an end to their senior year, and the current seniors have had the normal activities of their senior year taken away too.

“Not having a normal senior year hasn’t been fun without the pep assemblies and other activities we get to do as seniors,” senior Jordyn Inman said. “But it’s been a rough year for everyone.”

Despite everything that has happened this year – every hurt, every heartbreak – it has allowed people to to find their voice.

Through the huge toll that 2020 has taken on everyone’s life, people have been able to speak out in a new way to encourage change, hope and unity. Students at FHN have stood up for causes they believe in: feminism, mental health awareness, special needs education, racial inclusion and charity. In the midst of a year where everything seems to go wrong, they have found the bravery to stand up and proclaim their beliefs in the hopes of turning the world into a better place.

Their stories are meant to bring hope and inspire.

“It’s important to stand up for what you believe in, because those are your core values,” senior Ashleigh Lowery said. “You’re a human being because of it. If you let yourself be trampled, then what is there to life, you know?”