The Yorktown Seniors of 2020: Charlie F. Back when I was in high school from 1977-1980, I ran track and cross-country. I wasn’t very good at either, though I liked the latter better because we got to run our meets at a golf course. The course was well known, but generally empty in the colder months. It always makes me laugh because now that course is considered the most difficult and famous public course in America, the Bethpage Black—home to two U.S. Opens in the past twenty years. I don’t think they allow cross-country meets anymore. Anyway, let’s talk Charlie, because he gave one of the most thoughtful responses to my list of three questions (what’d ‘ya do, where are you going, and how has all this affected you?). Here’s what he wrote: “I had planned on going on a gap year after I graduated to go work and travel in South America. I was going to lead backpacking treks through the Guatemalan highlands and work in a woman’s co-op of weavers in a small town in Peru. At this point, those plans are on hold as the suspension of international travel likely makes my gap year impossible. Either way, I will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology to study Aerospace Engineering.” And here’s where I paused: “My generation grew up on smart phones. That’s been the main difference between us and every other American generation before us. And it’s not all negative—smart phones aren’t the devil—but they absolutely impact how you live. At social events, kids will sit around and play on their phones; in the classroom, kids will place their phone in the book they’re reading and check social media; and if the kid has a really bad attitude, they might even be on it at the dinner table. So what this all leads to is not a deprivation or loss of what a childhood is (and is meant to be), but simply a different and (one could argue) less wholesome way to live it. I think that this is going to be the reset button for our generation: the loss, the suffering, the grief—absolutely, and the cut it leaves will take a long time to heal.” Good luck in Georgia, Charlie! No prom, no cap and gown, no graduation ceremony. No problem. Next stop, greatness.
Location: Arlington, Virginia.