While more than an entire year of its high school career was plagued by Google Meets and pandemic protocol, the Haverford School Class of 2021 will be remembered by Haverford posterity for much more than the hectic year that marked its last at the school. Future students will not look back and feel sorry for it. Under the leadership of the 138th graduating class, a year that was once destined to be difficult for all students became one of the most memorable and meaningful that Haverford has been able to offer.
Each moment that Upper School students were able to share with each other, while fewer and further between than in a normal year, became of immeasurable value in large part because of the organization, energy, and general sense of community that the Sixth Form injected into the atmosphere. Large or small scale, in-person or virtual, it did not matter. It seemed inevitable that a member of the Sixth Form was there attempting to restore normalcy to an altered situation.
So as is asked of every graduating class at the end of their final year, we ask of ourselves: What is our legacy at this school and in this community? How will these people remember us and how will the yellowed yearbooks sitting in Severinghaus Library depict us decades from now to the future generation of Haverford students?
It is no secret that in one way or another our class will be remembered as one that seemed to be living through a new major historical event each week of its senior year; but, hopefully, whether through the memories we created, the evidence we left behind, or perhaps this very article, we will also be remembered as that class that unified a school when it was hardest.
Photographs of this era will show the massive masked student sections present at the few spring sports games allowing spectators with a row of Sixth Formers spilling over the bleachers’ barriers. They will show virtual practices for debate, robotics, mock trial and many other extracurriculars all with passionate and energetic Sixth Formers smiling in the top left corner of the screen. Projects left behind will show the Notables’ music video broadcasted to the whole school, a creative adaptation to an environment devoid of performance opportunities. In any of these cases or in the many others not mentioned, a constant theme of versatility arises.
Let us be clear, this year was exceptionally difficult for all students, especially the Sixth Form, not because of masks or the 6 feet separated desks; it was difficult because of what all of that meant. It meant that students couldn’t have the occasional side conversation during class –– for better or for worse. It meant that students couldn’t enjoy long conversations over meals with their friends in the dining hall. It meant that the student section couldn’t carry out traditions at basketball games. Coming into this year, as students learned what this new Haverford would look like, an underlying sense of pessimism was prevalent. Now nine months later, we believe it is safe to say that while certainly different, this year was equally enjoyable for all Upper School students.
We attribute this successful year to the aforementioned versatility. The Sixth Form’s ability to find new ways to lead, entertain, and energize every space, whether physical or not, ultimately allowed this year to become what it was and what it will be remembered for. Thus, we can safely conclude that the legacy of the Class of 2021 is forever set in stone: while being the graduating class that was faced with a global pandemic at just about the worst time in its high school career, it persevered, it adapted, and it eventually overcame making the last few months of its time at Haverford so memorable for not only itself but the rest of the student body.