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Courtesy of Yearbook

How do we put into words the past 11 weeks of the second semester? Currently, if we read the headlines, one might read: “panic buying,” “recession,” “number of cases,” “school closure,” “unemployment,” “reopening,” and “budget cuts.” Obviously, we are all going through not-the-best of times. With all the world-wide advancements in technology and medicine, who knew the world was so fragile? 

Who knew that something we can’t even see could bring so much disruption to the world?

Despite all of the sadness and chaos that Coronavirus/Covid-19 has brought, I hope that when we look back at this time period, we will also look at another narrative that isn't being published in the headlines. Ultimately, society, for all of its beauty and flaws, is about people. Although we might see stories in the news about incidents where people do not care for others or exhibit mean-spirited behaviors, the vast majority of people are truly amazing. No one is blind to the reality of hardship, and certainly, not everything has been remedied. However, we also need to acknowledge that the great majority of people have acted with the best intentions and have risen to the occasion – even during a worldwide pandemic.


We do not have to go far to see examples of positivity. Just walking around the neighborhood, I see signs of gratitude for first responders, doctors, and nurses. I see congratulatory signs for graduates. I see people handing out meals. I read about policies that help families keep their power on and help to keep them in their homes. Many families have shared with me the herculean effort it has taken to manage their student’s distance learning while working at the same time. I know that teachers, counselors, and staff scrambled to provide school services with very few resources available to them. And of course, our students have absorbed enormous impacts, and yet they lead through example by being resilient and thinking outside the box. Recently, our music teacher Mr. Rodriguez shared with me a beautiful recording (remotely) of The Star-Spangled Banner sung by his choir students. English teacher Ms. Touchton shared poems from her students about their shelter-in-place experiences. Math teacher Mrs. Thoman shared that her peer tutoring team wanted to continue helping other students during school closure. Mrs. Brasher has informed me that some of her students have entered online speech and debate tournaments. Mrs. DeBenedetto informed me in the middle of the school closure, that the yearbook team had finished the yearbook. Ms. Dawson shared that the journalism team was determined to finish the last edition. There are so many examples of people working together and being amazing that we aren’t seeing in the headlines.


At Leland, we have all been thrown into this emergency situation and had to experience less-than-ideal schooling to close out the semester. In addition, the upcoming instructional year is still in the planning phases as we will likely need to reimagine some of the ways we do things. Having gone through 11 weeks of this experience, we know that working together and supporting each other are essential. As I write this, we are not done with the CoronaVirus/Covid-19 situation yet. Whatever we may face in the future, let us all continue to remember the power of helping each other. 


A special note to the Senior Class of 2020. Adults often say to young people, “wait until you get to the real world.” The implication is that young people do not understand the realities of life yet. The truth is that any experiences that you may lack, you make up for them with creativity, idealism, and energy. This pandemic is another example of this world needing your influence.


As I think about your time at Leland, it has been fun and a privilege watching you mature into young adults. It has been great to see you lead the school as well. Think about the tone that you set leading to the positive culture and climate on campus. To name some examples: the positive school spirit through Entourage, providing feedback and student’s perspectives for school improvements, and providing student representation to the governing bodies such as the school-site council and WASC. Whether you realize it or not, you have taken the leadership responsibilities from the seniors before you and have embraced it. In addition, you have set good examples for other Chargers who will continue on at Leland. We thank you for being outstanding students and we welcome your influence on the “real world.”

Mr. Park

A Letter From Mr. Park

Alyssa Chen Art

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