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ESD Class of 2020 Graduation
Ned Dockery '20

"It started with the United States nearly going to war with Iran. I sat at home, anxiously googling the history of the draft and who would be selected.

 Weeks later, the novel coronavirus dominated headlines. I checked the maps every day, watching the cases approach Dallas. When my mom told me that I couldn’t go on the Senior Spring Break trip because she had been in contact with one of the first eight people in the city to test positive, I kicked the ground with frustration, angry at the world for being so unfair.

Then unemployment swept the country. I worried that my brother’s upcoming job at Oracle would vanish right after he had earned it.

Just as I became accustomed to life in quarantine, I learned the names and stories of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many more. I instantly thought of the night at CPK years earlier when my Black friends had educated me about “The Talk” they all received: hands on the dashboard, no sudden movements. I feared for their safety.

I always imagined that 2020 would be a year of celebration; instead, it has felt like a constant test, pushing me to the limits with stress and angst.

Yet here I am. I might be social distancing and wearing a mask, but I was not drafted into the United States military. My mom didn’t contract Covid-19, and I managed to survive the FOMO of being locked up in my room during Spring Break. My brother kept his job. And I haven’t had to worry about the color of my skin putting me in danger."

To watch the full Class of 2020 commencement speech, click here.