Michael Abeita

Michael Abeita

Uncharted territory is a good way to explain what the Class of 2020 has experienced over the last 10 weeks, as a group of young men and women on the verge of adulthood have asked to adapt to an entirely new set of circumstances during this difficult time.

Given the difficult times, Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson asked Kansas principals and superintendents for recommendations to compose a group of seniors to form a Senior Leaders Conversation Group.

Among those selected was standout Hiawatha High School senior Michael Abeita. On being selected for the group, Abeita said that it made him realize that his hard work throughout his high school career had been noticed.

“It truly means so much to me that I was chosen to help the Kansas Department of Education see how COVID-19 is affecting seniors — I was honored,” he said.

On the virtual meeting, seniors were introduced and shared their future plans and were asked to share their opinions on how students, notably seniors, can get through these difficult times. Abeita said that even though the circumstances are the same for everyone, it each individual’s response that matters. When his turn came to give advice to his fellow seniors, Abeita chose to keep it simple.

“Hang in there,” said Abeita, “Three little words, but now they mean so much more.”

“You’ve almost finished,” Michael said to his classmates, “You’re becoming a part of history; hopefully things can return to normal soon.”

Abeita said that was the gist of the meeting---a group of students being a part of something bigger than themselves.

“We’re going to be able to tell people in the future, ‘I was there—I graduated from high school in different circumstances, but I made it through.’”

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