Home Schools Class of 2024: Living in Interesting Times

Class of 2024: Living in Interesting Times

U-32 Principal Steven Dellinger-Pate signs student yearbooks. Photo by Mary Cole Mello.
“May you live in interesting times,” is either a curse or a blessing depending on your perspective, but it is apt for the class of 2024.

They began their high school careers on Sept. 8, 2020,  when schools reopened for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19, although some high school students continued to stay away from classrooms and soccer fields. Families cautious about COVID surges could opt for remote learning or home schooling.  

Those students who returned in person walked into school buildings that had been empty for almost six months. Masking, distancing, and scrupulous attention to handwashing were now a normal part of daily life. 

In January of their freshman year, they watched on television as election deniers attacked the U.S. Capitol building. In February of their sophomore year, Russia invaded Ukraine, the largest attack on a European country since World War II. The following year, another war began in the Middle East. Then in July, the flood waters hit central Vermont. 

On a brighter note, during their senior year, they witnessed a total solar eclipse. They’ll be about 73 years old the next time that happens in Vermont.  

Political news may have dominated the airwaves, but like scary background music, there were also continual reports about the escalating effects of climate change.

It’s hard to imagine that the events that “Gen Z” have seen and experienced wouldn’t lead to at least a few traits in common. 

Despite the global pressures during their high school years — any one of which would be enough to define a generation — seniors from central Vermont high schools have helped to clean up communities devastated by floods, worked with Tree-Plenish to plant 1,000 trees in the Barre area, joined in efforts to strengthen communities and sustainability goals (such as the MHS Fall Harvest Celebration), removed invasive species from the North Branch Park, volunteered at a Food Pantry, helped beautify their downtowns, and advocated on behalf of people whose lives have been devastated by war. 

Like other local high schools, Twinfield High School seniors also participated in many service activities. A favorite of staff and students may have been Popcorn Fridays, the tradition created by two seniors who donated 60 hours of their time to the project. 

Perhaps we only get to know this generation’s real frame of mind by listening to them. 

Area seniors were recently asked, “What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned over the past four years?” Some of their responses are: 

“We were prepared to face a world of pain and challenges in high school and college, however, throughout high school I’ve learned that our community is much more forgiving than we were told to think.” 

—Stephen Supan

“I’ve learned that we’ve had way too much pressure put on us when we were younger and that life is a lot more flexible that I was convinced it was by my councilors and teachers. Life doesn’t alway go the way you were told it was gonna go and that’s perfectly fine.”

—Andre Savard

“That stressful test isn’t going to matter in a few years or even a few weeks. Take a breath and see the big picture. There’s no need to stress yourself out to the point of burnout. Enjoy high school, don’t stress about it.” 

—Bee Shrout

“No matter how hard you try to impress or gain acceptance from others in life, you will still be judged. It is better to be fully oneself with messy emotions, tragic moments, and imperfections than to live a life in hiding.”

—Maalika Samson

“The contents of the Toni Morrison story ‘Recitatif’ and how it shifts the perspective on race.” 

—Mira Pompei

“Your biggest critic is yourself. Most people (at least in Montpelier) don’t care enough to judge you. You’re more likely to be liked for being authentic than trying to be something that you’re not.” 

—Sarah Greene

“I learned how many opportunities are available, so much to do and many ways to get there.” 

—Deanna Wild

“Anything is possible!”

—Fletcher Turner

Graduation 2024 Schedules

  • Twinfield High School, June 13, 11:00 a.m.
  • Montpelier High School, June 14, 5:00 p.m.
  • U-32 High School, June 14, 6:00 p.m. (Rain Date, June 15, 3:00 p.m.)
  • Spaulding High School, June 15, 11:00 a.m.