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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

To the Class of 2020

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Tony Tone
Tony Tone
Tony Tone has worked as a radio personality in Muscatine and the Quad Cities since 2006. He currently stars in the Hy-Vee Today show, serves as the store's Marketing and Merchandising Director, and writes Talk of the Town with Tony Tone for the Discover Muscatine newspaper.

Ferris Bueller was right when he said, “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” If you read that and don’t know who Ferris Bueller is, I highly recommend you watch that movie ASAP. Yes, it is 34 years old, but my goodness does it still hold up!

To the graduating class of 2020, I hope you know that we have your back. I cannot even imagine the range of emotions you’ve been dealing with since the pandemic ended your final year in high school. Many of you had plans for spring activities, athletics, prom, and of course, graduation. My hope is that folks like Dr. Jerry Riibe (Superintendent for the Muscatine Community School District) and Mr. Mike Van Sickle (Superintendent for Louisa Muscatine Schools) can make graduation happen.

It was 18 years ago that I found myself in your shoes. My senior year at Oak Park & River Forest High School was memorable but also went by way too quickly. I have to assume members of the class of 2020 are feeling the same. The majority of you have plans for life after high school, and I hope you’ll continue on your respective paths.

But, I also don’t want you to grow up just yet. Hear me when I tell you, it literally feels like I blinked and went from 18 to 36 years old with three kids and some gray hair. If anything, once high school ends, time somehow finds a cruel way to speed up.

My advice is simple; maintain as many friendships as possible. I’d be the first to tell you I’m a bad friend. I chose a career (my previous radio experience, primarily at B100) over being there for my friends. I missed weddings for what, I can’t even recall. I have friends from high school that I haven’t spoke to since my wedding in 2012. I’m actually feeling anxious as I’m writing this because I know it’s not the right thing for me to have done. Yes, life goes on and we get busy with work and our own families, but shouldn’t we make an effort to connect with those who were there for us during high school? Keep in mind, I am hoping to not sound like a hypocrite, and if anything, this column will be an exercise that I use to reconnect with my friends.

Class of 2020, keep perspective on this pandemic so that, say two to four years from now, you’ll think back and say, “wow, those were tough times, but we got through it together.” I wish you all the best as you prepare for life after high school. Chase your dreams, and don’t let anything, including a pandemic, get in your way. Your community stands with you, and if anything, we need you to be our future leaders. Congratulations and hats off to the class of 2020!

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