“Cherish Every Moment” - The Class of 2020 Graduates Reflect, Look Ahead

Football, basketball and volleyball games. New activities, new responsibilities and new friends. A senior trip to Europe last fall, back when traveling was safe and fun. Learning from teachers and classmates. Gaining confidence about speaking and performing in public – and becoming an active, engaged citizen. 

新皇冠体育盘口Those are just a few of the fondest high school memories shared by the Class of 2020, the approximately 5,000 Metro Nashville Public Schools seniors who will start graduating tomorrow after an extremely challenging final semester. 

It’s a unique class, a group of young adults upset about missing out on most senior traditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and yet more equipped than most to push ahead with a sense of perspective and the knowledge that life is short and can change on a dime. 

“Very sad about missing the moments in my last year that I looked forward to with excitement. What I learned is not to take things for granted, appreciate all the little things and to keep on moving forward.” - Jonathan Graves, McGavock High School

John Overton High School Principal Dr. Jill Pittman says Overton’s senior class is “kind, respectful, and appreciative,” and what she offers up to her seniors is good advice for all:

新皇冠体育盘口“The world will never be totally certain, but you can always bet on yourself. Reflect on the strengths you have built and put those to work in charting your course. Seek out wisdom from those who have gone before you and use their wisdom and  knowledge to guide your path.”

In their own words 

Here are some other things this year’s proud, wise, resourceful and resilient MNPS graduates had to say: 

What is your fondest memory of high school and why?

“I’ll have to say my freshman and senior years. I have a lot of memories from those 2 years, especially our senior picnic, it was a lot of fun, a lot of bonding and great times, as well as my senior football season. It went really great for me.” – Cory Beal Jr., John Overton High School


“My senior trip to Europe! We went to London, Paris, and Barcelona. Thankfully we went during fall break.” – Niya Davis, East Nashville Magnet High School

新皇冠体育盘口“My fondest memory of high school was performing at the talent show my sophomore year. I’m a poet, and it was the first time that I went public with my work. I had gotten up the courage to go on stage and express myself for who I really was: a young Muslim hijabi living in America. It was hard, no doubt, performing in front of the entire school. But that experience changed my life. Walking up on stage, microphone in hand, my hijab proudly wrapped around my head, I dove straight in and poured my heart out. Huge success!

“After that, I became well known for my poetry not only at MLK but in the Nashville community as well. I performed at multiple schools and events, gave a TED Talk, and even published a piece of my work. I am so thankful for my friends and teachers who encouraged me to speak up for what I believe in. Poetry isn’t just about open mics and words. It’s about love, friendship, passion, music, and justice. It’s about being who you are. I never would have been the person I am today if it wasn’t for being at an amazing school for the last six years with nothing but support and my love for poetry.” – Sumaya Muhamed, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School

“My fondest memory of high school has to be getting to be the graphic designer, videographer, and web designer for an event that was supposed to happen this year.” – David Fish, Nashville School of the Arts

“Hanging with friends in class.” – Sharmake Adan, McGavock High School

“My Senior Night for volleyball. As a senior it’s the most important game of the season; not only does it honor your hard work and commitment, but it shows everyone else how amazing you are.” – Gabrielle Hunter-Davis, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School

“Being a part of the 37208 community meeting to make a change in the world we live in!” – Brandon Brown Jr., Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

“My fondest memory about high school is how my teachers at school cared for me and helped me a lot to get into college.” – Osiris Pizen-Magana, Antioch High School

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Don’t stress and don’t give anything less than your best.” – Dominique Davis, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School 

“Don’t take high school for granted. Cherish every moment.” – Reyne Dube, McGavock High School 


“The secret to having it all is believing you already do.” – Taylor Driver, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

“Take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown your way, even if it’s hard, because you never know the impact it will make on your life later on.” – Darby Rystrom, Nashville School of the Arts 

“Be yourself, and don’t let anyone trample on your personality.” – Isabella Kelly, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School

“It’s okay to have fun sometimes, but stay focused.” – Julius Perkins, Hillwood High School 

 “Some advice that I would give my younger self is to HAVE FUN! Don’t be stressed out all the time. You got this!” – Cassidy Underwood, McGavock High School

 “Your real friends are the ones you’ll least expect.” – Stacy Cunningham, Nashville School of the Arts

“Don’t be so scared, everyone is in the same situation. Take some risks. We only have one high school experience.” – Anastasia Parker, Hunters Lane High School  

“Do what you love and do what you don’t love. You can sort it out in the end.” – Eli Crouse, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School

“I would tell my younger self don’t worry about what people think about you because in the end you’re doing this all for yourself. Be great.” – Kalailah Coleman, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School 

How I Feel about My Senior Year Ending Abruptly, or “What I've Learned as a Graduating Senior During a Pandemic”

“I’ve learned that you better cherish your high school years and most definitely your last year of high school because you can never get it back or go back when it’s over.” – Deondra Easley, Whites Creek High School  

“Well in all honesty I’m angry that it ended this way but I know that does nothing. So I’m just moving on and looking forward to the future.” – Kimberly Hutson, Nashville School of the Arts


“I feel sad and anxious because there were more memories to be made and things to experience. I was really looking forward to walking across that stage and taking pictures with my teachers and family. Nonetheless, I am thankful and grateful for everything that has happened.” – Diana Nguyen, Hillwood High School

“It’s rough. You go from having 3 more months to spend time with your friends and teachers to all of a sudden you’re a high school graduate.” – Luke Sweat, Antioch High School

 “Honestly, I feel a little disappointed that I don't get to do all the fun things that seniors traditionally get to do.” – Mikel Gonzalez, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School

“What I’ve learned as a graduating senior during a pandemic is no matter what, you never settle for less, no matter what’s going on. You have to keep striving and push for nothing but the best. During this most difficult time I still manage to rise and be above water. I didn’t let anything stop me during this tragedy. I can still say I made it in school and out of school and not only that, I still managed to graduate with all A’s.” – Marvinae Page, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

“Definitely not how I wanted it to end, but despite everything I had a great senior year. I also learned to work hard all year ’cause you never know if it will just end like this year.” – Cooper Owen, Stratford STEM Magnet High School 

“Life is very unexpected. You will never know what hits you. Just remind yourself that regardless of how much pain you go through in a day, a month, or even a year, it will fade away eventually.” – Niyah Jackson, Hunters Lane High School

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