BUFFALO, N.Y. — It has been a tough year for the Class of 2020. On top of everything they have had to deal with, they also weren't able to have the graduation ceremonies they had certainly hoped for and truly deserved.
So Most Buffalo wanted to do something special for them.
For the past week, we have been asking you to send in your graduation pictures, and wow, did you come through.
Looking through all of the pictures you sent to us, you wouldn't know what you've been through. Your bright smiles, your sparkling eyes, the way it all lights up. You wouldn't know that this is anything other than your graduation day. The one you've been working toward just the way you pictured it.
But it's not.
It's OK to think all of this is the worst. It wasn't supposed to be like this. All of the stuff you had to miss. We know it. Your parents and teachers and everyone else knows it.
After all, the lack of pomp and circumstance doesn't make anything you've done less important. If anything, we admire your strength and your resilience and your grace and your openness to change even more.
We love the way you carried on so beautifully. We are going to use the words brave and fearless. We tell you, you are our future and we believe in you and you are and we do.
But what we want to tell you, Class of 2020, is while all these things may be true, it's okay to be disappointed. It's OK to be mad, sad, annoyed or watch a caravan of well-meaning adults drive by your house beeping their horns and think really... this?
Most Buffalo wants to give you a gift. We want to let you off the hook and just let you be. Because that's the thing people don't tell you you'll really need most in life. That's the thing you won't always allow yourself.
This is a world where we highly value success, accomplishment and stability. We are confidently striving for the next thing no matter what. And on top of it, we are encouraged to do it all with a cheerful attitude.
Sometimes we forget to be human and go easy on ourselves.
Most Buffalo's message to you today and our challenge for you going forward is to be brave enough to not worry about being brave. Find instead, the courage to be vulnerable. There is great strength to be found in that kind of honesty.
Don't be afraid to be curious, flawed creatures. Ask for help. Make a mess, make mistakes, make it up as you go along because guess what? No one really knows for sure what they're doing in life.
Class of 2020, we are so proud of you.
We can't wait to see what you'll do next but after this year, please know, after all you've been through ... it's totally OK to just take a minute for yourself.