As a mom who has been through the senior years of three daughters and an exchange student son in the last five years, with one more to come next year, I am really feeling for the Class of 2020.

There’s something sort of special that happens at the end of high school, when you realize it’s really going to be over soon and you really aren’t going to be walking those halls much longer. For many of those seniors, it’s the first time in their lives that they’ve come to understand just how fleeting time is.

For the Class of 2020, the lessons they have learned are even broader. And they come with the knowledge that they have missed out on some of the rites of passage that go with high school years.


Instead, this class will have its own unique experience and memories, something that will be talked about for the rest of their lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if it bound them in a unique way with their peers.

I love seeing the yard signs and social media posts and other things meant to honor those students.

Here at the TH, we wanted to offer our own tribute.

From sporting events to musicals, club activities and service events, we’ve shot myriad photos of the Class of 2020’s high school years, particularly at the Dubuque County schools we cover most: Western Dubuque, Senior, Hempstead and Wahlert. Our photo/video team combed the archives and came up with dozens of photos that we assembled into videos featuring as many of those teens as we could find.

We certainly don’t have everybody, but we thought students and families would enjoy seeing a slideshow of some of their classmates, captured by a photojournalist’s lens.

We began posting the videos Sunday, starting with Western Dubuque High School, followed by Hempstead High School on Monday. At noon today, you can see the Senior High School slideshow, with Wahlert Catholic to come at noon Wednesday, May 20.

The videos can be viewed on the TH YouTube channel ( as well as on our website ( and on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Please enjoy our salute to this special class and share the videos on social media.

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, I can’t help but think about what this weekend has been like for me and my family for the last many years — back-to-back graduation parties, a three-day parade of pulled pork and walking tacos. I never thought I would miss sitting at crowded tables in someone’s garage so much.

Yet, when our education reporter, Allie Hinga, interviewed some members of the Class of 2020 recently, she didn’t get a string of complaints. Instead, she heard some mature young adults, philosophical at this strange turn in the road.

Libby Perry, a senior at Wahlert, put it this way: “One day this is all going to pass, and I want to look back and be able to say that I made the best of it, and it made me thankful for things I have in my life.”

Well. If she’s any indication, it looks like the Class of 2020 has had its rite of passage after all.

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