In early June, Oscar Brown’s parents drove him to George Washington Carver High School for the last time as a senior. It was Oscar’s graduation day and he was looking forward to receiving his diploma from Carver, just as his dad had twenty years earlier. Still, there was no denying that Oscar’s graduation ceremony would be significantly different than any of Carver’s past graduations.
“The graduation process was interesting to say the least,” Oscar recounts. As they pulled into the Carver driveway, Oscar and his family joined a parade of orange and green decorated cars that snaked through the parking lot. Graduates smiled and waved through sun roofs. Families held signs and cheered. “To me, it didn’t matter that it was outside— it was cool,” Oscar says. He received his diploma outside of Carver’s convocation center with his masked friends and family looking on and cheering from a safe distance. “I want to send a big shout out to the whole class of 2020,” Oscar says, “for being there for each other and helping each other even when times were bad. We helped each other graduate!”
Oscars words connote the unprecedented era that the class of 2020 has graduated into. Yet, despite graduating amidst multiple national crises, Collegiate’s class of 2020 is leaning into pragmatism in order to pursue their passions and move towards their post secondary goals. Planning for the future during uncertain times highlights the class of 2020's excellence, resilience, and endurance.
“I’m excited about experiencing college for myself,” Oscar says. This fall, he will begin his first semester at the University of New Orleans with plans to pursue a business degree. While Oscar says he isn’t nervous about potential school closures as the result of COVID, he acknowledged that others in the class of 2020 may have reservations. “Keep your head up,” is his advice. “Not everything is going to work the way you want it to. Just push yourself make it work.”
Kathlyn Jones, a graduate of Abramson Sci Academy’s class of 2020, is certainly living by these words as she adapts her post-secondary plans for next school year. “I’m interested in film,” Kathlyn says, “I really want to attend Dillard for their film program. Really all of their media courses would be great for me.” With her ACT scores just short of Dillard’s admission requirements, Kathlyn had decided to adjust her Plan A and use Next Level NOLA as a bridge to get into Dillard. She still plans to take the ACT on July 18th with the hopes of bypassing Next Level NOLA and getting into her dream school this fall.
“There’s a lot I’m nervous about,” she says, “I hope the campus will be open, instead of doing online classes. I’ve heard being in person will be more exciting.” Rather than choosing to attend community college this semester and pay for her credits out-of-pocket, Kathlyn has decided to go with a free option until she has more clarity about her future at Dillard.
“I’m trying to get into a career in producing,” she says. “I got interested in it after taking my Media Arts class. My teacher was Mr. Bassler.” While Kathlyn has a clear vision for what she wants from her own future, she doesn’t think uncertainty will hold back the class of 2020: “If you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life yet, it’s okay. Whatever you’re passionate about, don’t be afraid to do it. It takes time to figure it out.”
Note: As Livingston Collegiate Academy’s graduation was only recently, we were unable to get an interview with a member of their class of 2020 for this article. Please check back in the coming weeks for a feature on Livingston’s founding class of graduates.