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What matters most is not the memories we are missing

To: Clarkstown North High School's 2020 class

From: Daniel Kantrowitz (As told to Lauren Brill)

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To My Senior Class,

We started the year off so strong.  After losing to our crosstown rivals, Clarkstown South, four years in a row, during the playoffs this year, we finally did it. In the opening round of the postseason, we beat South, 20-0. From the parents to the students, everyone was excited. It was an unforgettable moment that we all celebrated together.

Daniel (far right) says his friends are following the social distancing guidelines.

It was supposed to be just the beginning of our senior-year celebrations. But those other significant events we have seen our older brothers, sisters and friends attend, like prom and graduation, might not happen for us.

I remember when I first heard of the Coronavirus. It was across the world in China and spreading. At the time, it wasn’t close to home. So, it was hard for me to be worried or mindful of a disease I didn’t see or deal with personally. Then, it spread quickly.

In March, they canceled school for a few days but then switched it to a few weeks. When Governor Cuomo extended school closures a second time, I knew we weren’t going back to normal so quickly. While our prom and graduation have yet to be canceled, there is a good chance that we won’t go back to school this year.

Those other significant events we have seen our older brothers, sisters and friends attend, like prom and graduation, might not happen for us.

We are all upset. For me, even more than possibly missing graduation or prom, I am most disappointed about the little moments. Senior skip day, where seniors head to the beach for a day, is probably not going to happen. Right now, we should be having our school-wide volleyball tournament. We won’t get to share college decision day, taking pictures with our friends, as we reveal what’s next for us. I miss even the day-to-day interactions, walking through halls and joking around with all of you.

Daniel says it is the little moments with his friends that he misses the most.

However, what’s been cool to see is that we seem to understand that this is bigger than us. I’ve seen from all of you a lot more advocacy, positive vibes and optimism than I have seen complaints or pessimism.  Some of you that I thought couldn’t care less are advocating for your friends to stay at home. Others are trying to raise money for charities and GoFundMe accounts for those who need help right now. I have even seen some of you making masks and assisting first responders anyway that you can to help stop the spread of the virus.

I feel a real sense of community. No matter your group of friends, everybody wants to make sure everybody is OK. The other day, I posted a video basically saying wash your damn hands. People that I haven’t connected with in years have swiped up on it and told me that it was great.

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Instead of trying to find ways to meet up with our friends, we are listening to health officials and doing our best to adapt and make the most of the situation. I still talk to many of you every day on Zoom and group Facetime. Our amazing student council created an Instagram account and a Facebook group, posting our college decisions, so people can still share and celebrate their college choices together.

Daniel is headed to The University of Maryland next year.

All of this is very hard, but we are doing our best and supporting our community, which has made me realize that as a class, we genuinely do all care about each other.

So, even if we miss out on our final moments of high school, what I will remember most about this time is not the memories we lost but the character we showed.

I am proud to be a member of Clarkstown North’s 2020 Senior Class.

Hopefully, I will see you all soon.

Go Rams!

Daniel Kantrowitz
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