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End of Year Message from SCC President Dr. Barbara Kavalier
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Last night I revisited one of my favorite poems, T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. As I came to the line, one of the most memorable lines, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” I had a sad thought. Currently, I feel as though I measure out my life in Skype meetings. A steady cadence of clicking in and clicking out separates the hours of my days. Yes, it is difficult to face a pandemic amid so many other challenges, in an environment that places us at a distance. Much is difficult. But then, just when I need it most, I receive an e-mail from a faculty or a staff member who demonstrates great kindness and support. Sharing their own challenges in dealing with this virus and with this new normal, they offer empathy, taking time out of their day, between their Skype meetings and other tasks, to provide encouraging words of hope. We all need words of hope and kindness at a time when many of us, including me, struggle to find common and solid ground upon which to move forward. Time and again, I run into my old experiences. How do you resolve the ambiguity that existed between what we have always done and, well…this? Many days my work is like assembling a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture of the finished product.
As many of you know, the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was announced on January 21, 2020. Curious, I reviewed my calendar this morning to see what was happening at St. Charles Community College on that date. Doing so, I quickly remembered that this was the first day of the spring semester. As part of my weekly newsletter, Touch Base Tuesday, I shared the following:
For all our students, the first day of the semester represents a new step in their educational journey. As a community college, we create an opportunity for the communities we serve to come together, united in the idea that a college education offers hope and possibility, especially for those who are first-generation, low-income students.
The 2020 Commencement ceremony was scheduled for this Saturday, May 16. Of course, the College Center will be closed and locked at that time. My regalia is hanging undisturbed on a hook in my office closet. This will be the first time in 30 years that I have not participated in a live Commencement ceremony. For some of you, it may be even longer. Even though we will not be in person to recognize the success of our graduates and our faculty, it is still important that we take time to pause and reflect on all that our students have accomplished. It is important to celebrate our graduates, and this class will be remembered for years to come.
Certainly, this semester has been like no other. And despite a challenging and unpredictable spring, the Class of 2020 is extraordinary. Our shared history will remember them, and the faculty and staff who served them, as resilient, innovative, and dedicated beyond measure.
Thank you for all you have done to educate, support, and serve the Class of 2020. Best wishes to each of you for a peaceful and safe summer.