We are so grateful for everything the community has done to rally behind the Class of 2020 during this uncertain time. There has been an outpouring of love and undying support, but we have been pondering one thing. Most conversation is focused on our class being remembered for graduating through a pandemic and the many cancellations we faced.

It is true that we ¨lost¨ our prom and in-person graduation, but we have also kept our loved ones and community safe by staying home. We created innovative ways to celebrate our achievements and still create memories throughout our senior year.

During these last weeks of school, we asked our peers about the memories they have about their school experience and how they want the Class of 2020 to be remembered.

Our class remembers being the class that visited Mr. T’s farm while at Wildwood Elementary School. We remember spending our recesses at O.H. Anderson Elementary School trading silly bands and playing red rover on the basketball courts. We remember creating our own bands and selling pop out of our lockers at Mahtomedi Middle School. In high school, we remember what it was like to gather as a school community whether at pep fests, band concerts, or cheering on our classmates at state competitions.

The legacy of Mahtomedi’s Class of 2020 extends beyond graduating during a pandemic. We don’t want you to focus on the cancellations of our senior year; instead, focus on our impact and how we shaped our community, state and nation. Here are some things we would like you to remember about our class.

We volunteer in our elementary classrooms, hold special learning events for our youngest Zephyrs, serve as counselors, coaches and mentors and, during distance learning, our classmates held virtual opportunities to read, tutor and share our passions with other students.

Our classmates in the National Honor Society organized a blood drive this year and over 50 units of blood were donated, saving 153 lives in our community. Our Student Leadership Council holds annual babysitting events for the community and uses the proceeds to buy gifts for students in a nearby school district.

The Mahtomedi Hockey Team took home the Class A State Championship title, but we’d also like you to know that they collected almost 3,000 pounds of food for the Mahtomedi Area Food Shelf and mentored young Zephyr players in our community.

Our writers, artists and musicians are making their mark in the Twin Cities and the state, winning awards for poetry, writing and film. Our classmates have won awards at the White Bear Center for the Arts. One of our classmates won a state EDU Film Festival award for his animation video and another was selected for the State John Philip Sousa Band Award.

Outside of school, our peers are serving food to the homeless in St. Paul; volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, Emily Program, Animal Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity; and completing mission work in Jamaica, Haiti, Romania and Honduras.

Our peers participated in Mahtomedi Modeling A Protein Story (MAPS), a group of dedicated young women at Mahtomedi High School who share a passion for biology. Their team was invited to present its research at the Experimental Biology (EB) Conference (life sciences and biomedical researchers from all over the world attend). The MAPS team has also given a TedTalk on its work.

Members of our Class of 2020 also went to nationals for Real World Design Challenge (RWDC), an opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team environment. This year, members of the Mahtomedi team were asked to submit an engineering notebook detailing their findings about the feasibility of drone delivery in an urban setting.

We even have seniors in our class who have shared their passions to compete on a global level. One of our fellow seniors competes on the Olympic speed skating team and another competed in a global pizza competition, earning herself recognition as the youngest and top American to compete in Italy for her gluten-free pizza.

We are the class of perseverance and possibility. Our peers display a range of powerful qualities and passions. We asked our classmates to share some words to represent our class. They shared that the Class of 2020 is one of strength and resilience and that we have shown our kindness and ability to adapt to change. And most of all, we've persevered, united and spread positivity through times of tribulation.

As we finish high school, we want to be recognized for so much more than being the graduating class during the pandemic. Within our senior class, there are a multitude of hidden gems that used their passions to change the world. These passions have helped create strong characters in the Mahtomedi senior class of 2020. As we move forward, we will always be proud to remember, “Once a Zephyr, always a Zephyr.”

 

Mahtomedi seniors Renee Williams and Elisabeth Becker wanted to share the story of the Class of 2020— a story of hope, possibility and perseverance.

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