Tayler Talks About Graduation, Her Future and Social Unrest

Many high-school seniors look forward to graduation and all the celebrations that come with it. I don’t remember much about my high-school graduation except that it was an exciting day that I shared with family and friends. The embrace between loved ones can still be felt and the words of encouragement for my future can still be heard. This celebratory time still brings a smile to my face.

Graduation season in 2020 looks very different from my high-school graduation because there are no friends and family members in attendance at graduation, smiles between friends are hidden behind masks, and words of hope are now shared via text. I sit down (virtually) with Tayler recently after taking her graduation pictures to talk about her graduation experience, what she is looking forward to next and how she is supporting social justice. 

Tayler expressed that Covid-19 changed her graduation experience because she was not able to say good bye to all of her friends and classmates and obviously the day didn’t unfold the way she had dreamed. Tayler’s graduation was very different from what most people have ever experienced. I sat in the same car with Tayler and my mom with my mask on peering out the window to see the blue and white stage set up prominently at the front of the athletic field amidst the absence of chairs usually reserved for family and friends who were supposed to attend. As Tayler’s mom drove up to the designated area, Tayler gracefully exited the car with her cap and mask on ready to get the diploma she worked so hard for but first she briefly stopped so I could snap a picture of her. She was then quickly directed by a faculty member to go behind the gate to make her way to the podium and we were instructed to drive up a couple of yards to wait for her in the car because unless you were a student you weren’t permitted to step out of the vehicle. I couldn’t imagine what her mom was feeling as she waited for her only child to return to the car instead of watching her cross the stage but I know for sure she was proud of Tayler. As Tayler walked back towards the car with her long black hair swaying in the wind, she took off her mask and flashed us a beautiful smile holding up her diploma.  

Being the positive person that she is, she said the pandemic changed things but it also allowed her to become closer to her core group of friends because they stayed in touch during shelter in place. She mentioned that the friends she holds dear to her heart are loyal, are supportive, have the same morals as her and are fun to be around. She feels that their friendship will continue to grow although they will be separated by distance once college starts. 

The next chapter of Tayler’s book is to attend the University of Oregon in the Fall. She selected this school because of their well-known architecture program and close proximity to California. Her dream of being an architecture is much bigger than just building homes. She wants to help provide a solution to homelessness by building homes for low income families. She wanted to leave the state while attending college but she desired to be close enough to return home on breaks to be with her mom and friends. She is excited for college and looks forward to meeting new people, joining clubs and participating in activities.

We ended the conversation with her thoughts on the social unrest in America. She said overall it was upsetting. She mentioned that our ancestors worked so hard to fight for equality but although some things have changed, there is much more work that her generation has to do to continue this movement for equality for all.  She has been educating her peers, spreading awareness on social media and donating to friends who are making care packages that include water, snacks, masks, and more for protestors.

This next generation will continue the charge to solve a lot of the world’s problem and I’m confident that with young ladies like Tayler their work will help build a better world for us all.