Dear Class of 2020,
As a current preschool teacher at Eastern Christian, a lot of my attention is turned toward our youngest students, but for now I’d like to shift my focus to you, our graduating seniors. You may remember me better as “Miss Hulsebos.” Eleven years ago (2009), I began my career at EC as a 2nd grade teacher. Many of you were among my first students, so you hold a special place in my heart. You were the “One and Only 2H.” (I got married in the summer of 2010. I came back to school in the fall as Mrs. Beverly and my next class was 2JB – not to be confused with Miss Baitzel’s 2KB!) Let’s take a walk down memory lane together…
You’ve grown from adorable second grade students into sophisticated graduating seniors. As you look forward to graduation this week, I’d love to share a few thoughts with you.
We had a lot of fun times together, didn’t we?! You thought I was the teacher in 2009-2010, but I learned so much from YOU too. I could not have asked for a better group of kids for my first class! You were full of joy! You loved to have fun, and you made me smile and laugh on a daily basis. You were eager to learn and excited for new adventures. You showed kindness and love to one another, prayed for and encouraged others; you passionately worshipped God. You inspired me to do the same! One project you undertook that year was an anti-bullying campaign. As a 2nd grade class, you decided to hang posters in the school hallways that encouraged students to treat one another with kindness. You also decorated stones labeled with the Fruits of the Spirit to place on the playground as reminders to practice these attributes when interacting with others outside. I hope these characteristics are still true of each of you, and that you continue to embody the Fruit of the Spirit as you look ahead to leaving EC and finding a new place to use your gifts and shine your light.
But whether you’ve been at EC for 1 year or 12+, I know you’re not leaving the way you hoped. I grieve with you over the loss of so many significant events during your senior year. Who could’ve guessed that your time at Eastern Christian would end with a global pandemic that would rob you of these special memories? I’m sad that you did not get to go on your planned Senior Trip to Washington D.C. or attend your Senior Prom. I wish I could’ve seen your final performances of “Seussical the Musical,” which I know you worked so hard to prepare for. I live near EC high school, so I often walk past the baseball field and mourn the loss of spring sports for so many senior athletes. Most of all, I am heartbroken that you won’t get to experience the graduation that you planned on and looked forward to. I am sure you are devastated, perhaps even angry, that you won’t have the opportunity to walk across the stage in the ECHS gymnasium to receive your hard-earned diploma along with your classmates and in front of your beloved family, friends, and ECHS faculty and staff. Your pain is real and legitimate.
I’m thankful that our Eastern Christian teachers and leaders have been working tirelessly to make your senior year memorable and meaningful in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. I know nothing can take the place of these lost experiences, but I do hope that your upcoming virtual graduation will still be a time of celebration and joy as we all (myself included!) watch along with you and reflect on your many accomplishments during your time at Eastern Christian. Though your graduation may look different than years past, the type of ceremony you have does not in any way change the incredible value you’ve added to our EC community in the time you spent here. We are proud of you, ECHS Class of 2020! May God be your guide as you discern next steps for your life! Congratulations!
Jenna Beverly (“Miss Hulsebos”)
PS: There is another Class of 2020 that I could never forget about! To our ECMS graduating 8th grade students, you are also very dear to me! While this year’s graduating seniors were my FIRST 2nd grade class, many students who are graduating from middle school this year were my LAST class of 2nd graders in 2013-2014. Your class was such a sweet note to end on before taking a maternity leave and transitioning to teach Preschool. I will never forget your excitement when I shared that I was having a baby (girl!) and your genuine prayers for my little one every morning during class devotions. We had a lot of fun together that year! May I take you back to 2nd grade for a moment?
Some of the highlights from your time in 2nd grade include …
It is hard for me to believe that you are headed to high school in the fall! I will always remember you as smiling 2nd graders! Like the high school seniors, I am sure that you are also mourning the loss of a typical graduation, but regardless of how we celebrate you this week, please know that I am one of SO many people who are very proud of your accomplishments and I am confident that God has great plans for you as you move on! Way to go ECMS Class of 2020!