Hope – Maryam Ahmad

Maryam Ahmad, Chief Editor

Let’s be honest. We have been through a lot. 

We went through a lot of sleepy mornings dragging ourselves out of bed to wake up at an impossibly early hour, and to walk through the low hum of the crowd of fellow zombies outside and into the school building. Then the hum becomes louder as friends are spotted and pens and pencils scurry along the homework from the night before. This throng of people threatened to swallow me up on my first day here, but soon it became as familiar as home.

We dashed around from class to class, with much anticipation before the bell, and rushed to be the first one out the door with people chattering in the hallways, and weaving their way through the slow walkers and the large groups. Waving to the friend spotted for a split second always brought a little more light to the day, and a little more pride in having friends where I had felt like a foreigner for months.

We had a lot of moments of walking into class with a lot to look forward to for the day. There was always that one class that you always walked into with a smile. My first class like that was my 10th grade Global History class, where I met some of my closest friends. Then it was AP Lang, where we never shied away from important discussions, and my love for language was reaffirmed. Here I learned how to wield words, and that I wanted to become a writer. In the same year, it was APUSH with so many of my friends where we were taught about the great moments and leaders in the history of the United States. This year, it was the Writing Center, where lovers of language like myself could guide others in their journeys to find the best words to express themselves. It was AP Gov, where we discussed every current event through the lens of the structure of our government and policies. 

We scrambled to find empty tables and chairs in Lafollette, then Taft during lunch, and catching up on the day at an impossibly high volume because it was always so loud in there. The first time I had a defined group of people to sit with was a proud moment. Lunch always was over too quickly.

We invested a lot of hours in sports and clubs, working for causes dearest to our hearts. I wrote for the Bison about representation in movies, and debated in Model UN about international issues and solutions. I discussed issues of race and gender discrimination through the lens of fantasy and fiction in Project LIT. After the club meetings, we all found our way to the library, the quiet sanctuary throughout the day turned into a bustling, buzzing place to meet and only manage to do one page of homework.

We always had a lot of anticipation at the end of the day, and finally getting to leave school, even though we all secretly looked forward to the next day. So much anticipation only to spend hours on homework and then finally get to sleep. And then we woke up and did it all again the next day.

We spent a lot of effort and hard work in writing those college essays and spent hours on the Common App website. The process loomed in the horizon of our sophomore and junior years until it was suddenly upon us. We went to college visits, and found our place somewhere, somewhere we could see ourselves. We looked to the future. 

We had a lot of expectations for the senior year we dreamed of. We wanted to celebrate the college acceptances and commitments. We wanted to have fun and cherish the last few months of school with our friends, and enjoy the freedom of having a new future ahead of us.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

Because we also had a lot of disappointment at the way our senior year turned out. Stuck at home with nowhere to go, no way to meet our friends. Being in class on Zoom was never much fun. Not quite like being able to whisper to your friend in class when you weren’t supposed to. Not quite like actually being in the room with each other. 

We went through so much effort only to have our last few months of school at home, in a strange, suspended time, where we could only watch the numbers go ever higher and feel helpless. The worst thing we used to imagine was those shots being heard in our school building, but here was something even worse. Lives being lost to a deadly disease, and we couldn’t do much of anything. 

Now, in the midst of national turmoil, anger and frustration, not just over COVID-19, but over the horrific murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, hope for a better future seems less and less like a possibility. 

But we cannot simply remain numb to the pain and suffering. 

Because we are the future. 

We are the future where things will be better, where no person will have to be another name in a tragically long list, where people, no matter what color their skin, can live freely, and without fear. 

We have been through so much, but we will bring change, and we will create a better future. 

Hope may feel impossible, but I have hope. 

I have hope that my fellow members of the Class of 2020 will fight for a better future, and will succeed. I have hope for so many more possibilities, and incredible opportunities for every one of us. I have hope in all of us.


Here’s to the Class of 2020. Here’s to hope.