Hannah Johnson ‘21
January 31st, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
“Dear Class of 2021,
We are glad to be here with you tonight, to reflect on your four years at Holy Cross and to look forward to your futures. In these trying times, we come together as a community to support each other, as this is a part of our Jesuit mission. And, in such times, we call upon you, Seniors, to be role models for the greater student body; to show us how we ought to act if we want to ever see Yellow. Green is a far dream, probably something you all will never see… but, perhaps with your guidance, you can enjoy a Code Yellow status for your final semester at Holy Cross. (For most of it.)
Let me reiterate that these are terrible, awful times, and that all of you are very sad and distressed. In the past, they also had bad times. War, disease… terrible tragedies. My parents also went through bad times. Following the Jesuit tradition, we are very well prepared to think deeply and reflect on many disasters, diseases, and tragedies, not just in our time, but also in times before us. This is a productive thing to do, because then, we will see how our current events are very bad, just like they were before your time. I’m talking about political unrest, systemic racism, disease, climate change… there is just a lot going on. And some of these things have also happened before now.
In the middle of a global pandemic, it is important to go on. You must press on, in any way that you can manage. You have your studies ahead of you–and some of you will be attempting to enter the workforce soon. Whatever you do, do not succumb to crippling sadness and dejection. Times are very hard and a lot of people are struggling right now. I would encourage you to maybe not do that.
It has been our pleasure to celebrate the class of 2021 tonight and to commemorate your approaching graduation. The celebration of your final semester is a pleasant distraction from the global turmoil and American problems currently plaguing us–forgive that wording.”