Kindness Amid Trying Times

Mr. Lee shows his appreciation for the class of 2020

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Parker Lee

A message to all of the seniors, written in chalk at the entrance of the school.

COVID-19 has impacted people of all different walks of life; with school moving online, workplace closures, and the threat of this viral infection looming over everyone’s heads, everyone’s day-to-day life has certainly changed. High school seniors around the world are being hit especially hard with changes, with graduation ceremonies being canceled or postponed and end of year rites in jeopardy, it feels as if the senior year has basically been canceled. English teacher and JD Baseball coach Parker Lee sends love to the Class of 2020 during these trying times, through Crumbl boxes and free graduation photos, showing just how much the JD staff miss the students in classrooms. 

Parker Lee
A tribute to the class of 2020; with each senior’s name written at the entrance of the school.

“I have always had a special bond with this graduating class. Their freshmen year was my first year at Juan Diego, then they started the mentor program and I was lucky enough to get them in my mentor group,” said Lee, regarding his special bond with the senior class. “I love all my students, but that is especially true for the class of 2020.”

Lee has been doing a variety of things to remind the senior class that they are loved, and the teachers are still thinking about them when physical interaction is impossible. “I wanted to help them know that they are important and loved during this crazy time. I started out by doing curbside visits to seniors. I did it to show them they matter, but also because I have really missed seeing them every day.” Said Lee. 

Lee has recently made a heartfelt video in which he wrote the names of every senior in chalk at the south entrance of the school; this is one of many tangible ways that Lee has been expressing his appreciation for the class of 2020. “My motivation in doing that was to show them that I was thinking about them, not just collectively as a class, but individually as well.” 

As the end of the school year draws closer while quarantine only seems to be stretching further, Lee has continued to show his support through free graduation photoshoots, once safe, of course, and delivering care packages. “Last week, I was lucky enough to be able to help deliver care packages and yard signs to the seniors. It was a great opportunity to help them to feel special, and also just to check in with them,” said Lee. 

“As far as graduation photos go, things are still in the works. Once it became clear we wouldn’t be back in school physically, I made the offer to do graduation photos for any senior who was interested,” Lee stated about the free graduation photos he has recently been offering. 

Parker Lee
Lee drawing names to pick the lucky winner of the Crumbl box giveaway.

Lee also hopes to get a group graduation photo in the future. “Additionally, I am looking at setting up some kind of opportunity to take at least one photo of as many seniors as possible in their graduation cap and gown, but we still need to figure out a way to make that work logistically.”

“I absolutely appreciate what Mr. Lee has been doing for us seniors this year,” Senior Omar Al-Jafaari has definitely appreciated all the kindness Lee has been showing to the senior class; making the crazy situation the class of 2020 is in a little bit better. “Everything from his own car visits to the Crumbl competition to writing all our names in the south entrance has been nothing but amazing from him.” Al-Jafaari expressed. 

One of the most important years of high school is senior year, and it’s made special by the many important rites, rituals, and milestones met throughout the year. This all leads to the end of the year events such as prom and the graduation ceremony. Yet, because of the unprecedented situation the world has found itself in, Juan Diego seniors and seniors all across the world are missing out on these special moments. But through the efforts of teachers like Mr. Lee, this unique year can be made a little bit better. 

“I would just like to let the class of 2020 know how much I love and care about them. The way they have handled this awful hand they have been dealt their senior year gives me confidence that they will be able to handle anything that gets thrown at them in life,” Lee finished.