WHS teachers, staff praise 2020 senior class’ resilience

Ask the adults associated with this year’s graduating class, and they’ll praise the students and the community that supports them.

“I think the major loss is the end of year emotions: senioritis; closing out classes; seeing friends in the commons; prom; senior directed play; camaraderie; seeing your friends one last time,” said Wiesbaden High School principal Dr. Heather Ramaglia. Despite the losses, she sees this group as unstoppable. “They have so much tenacity and are going to persevere.”

“These kids are used to having plans changed,” said Najla Munshower, vice president of the senior parent association. “They are finding ways to build community where physical community has been removed.” She continued, ”They are an enthusiastic class; supportive of one another; they are smart; and they are kind.”

Lisa Bishop/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Senior class advisors, Marcy Grayson (on screen) and Lee Carter (right), video conference to discuss graduation plans May 8. Carter works from a high school classroom while Grayson works from a home office, maintaining social distance as they collaborate.

Jamie Cook, Advanced Placement test coordinator and student council advisor, said, “They know that change is always inevitable and things do not always work out the way we plan. I really think this group of students, particularly our seniors, have shown such great heart and spirit through this entire ordeal.” She’s proud of their ability to bond where social distancing is the norm.

Senior class advisors Lee Carter and Marcy Grayson have been involved with 20 WHS graduations. Carter said, “Unpredictable and sad times seem to be the most uplifting, celebratory and focused.” And, from their perspective, the community has focused on recognizing the accomplishments of the class.

Community groups have stepped forward with offers from prom dresses to volunteers to facilities. “The support, well wishes, good intentions and the love for the kids has been overwhelming in the best of ways,” Carter said.

Lisa Bishop/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Dr. Heather Ramaglia, principal of Wiesbaden High School, works in her office May 8. Despite the losses the 2020 graduating class has had to endure due to the COVID-19 crisis, she sees this group as unstoppable. “They have so much tenacity and are going to persevere.”

“This graduation won’t look exactly like we intended, but that’s ok,” Carter said. “In some ways, this situation brings everyone’s focus back to the importance of the day, and that’s this rite of passage for the seniors.”

Carter remembers the 2003 graduation, where 80% of the graduating class had parents deployed to Iraq. “So, as disappointing as this year is, my thoughts are that most families are together.  I understand feeling let down that grandparents and extended family can’t come, but for the most part, parents are here, and thankfully, to my knowledge,  we are all healthy and more or less out of harm’s way.”

For Grayson, she said she sees an entirely different challenge at graduation. “The hardest part of graduation is that we will want to hug them all.”