No one could have imagined that 2020 would turn out this way, especially high school seniors.
Manatee County’s senior class would have walked across the stage in their cap and gowns this week.
Soon they’d be shopping for dorm room decor – or soaking up the sun with friends who will soon part ways.
COVID-19 has changed some of that. What hasn’t changed… is the feeling in our hearts.
This week, Shelly Corbran found a letter in her mailbox. It was addressed to her daughter, Meghan, a senior at Manatee High School.
The contents of the envelope included a letter her daughter wrote to herself in 2013, as a fifth grade student at Braden River Elementary School:
If you’re reading this, your dreams have come true and you’ve made it. Do you still remember Mrs. Hood? Well, I’m in her class right now and I love her.
-Excerpt of Meghan’s letter from 2013
Love is a shared sentiment between Mrs. Hood and her students.
In 2013, Amy Hood had already been teaching for several years, but wanted to commemorate her “first” fifth grade class at Braden River Elementary School in a special way.
She asked them to write a letter to themselves as future seniors – with no idea of knowing what that gesture would mean in 2020.
“I told them I would send it to them their senior year,” said Mrs. Hood, now a teacher at Barbara A. Harvey Elementary School in Parrish. “A few weeks ago, I pulled their letters out of my file and composed a letter of my own with some advice from me.”
As you are about to finish high school (online, unfortunately!) I’m sure you have learned many life lessons on your own. None of us could have imagined that our lives would have so drastically changed, like they have and sadly, it has affected you all in big ways.
-Excerpt of Mrs. Hood’s letter to seniors in 2020
Meghan’s mom was touched. Shelly Corbran says her daughter and all seniors have lost out on so much, but this kind gesture filled a void that COVID-19 has taken away from her daughter.
In 2013, Meghan loved country music, lasagna and neon colors. She had dreams of becoming a Pediatric Nurse.
In 2020, Meghan is preparing to attend Florida Atlantic University where she plans to major in Pediatric Occupational Physical Therapy. She was right. Her dreams are coming true, despite the unknown.
As for Mrs. Hood, she is proud of all of her former students and looks forward to continuing this “Dear Senior” letter tradition in the future. Her final words in the letter to her former class, “I love you all”.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and Mrs. Hood’s 2013 Wranglers!
WeManatee is a campaign telling the stories of people making a positive impact through public education and those who are benefiting from it. It’s short for “We are the School District of Manatee County.”
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