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East Lyme's Kora Lovdahl - Academic Scholar Orator


First, can you do something for me?

Place your hand over your heart.

Feel it beat.

We are here. We are still here.

Covid took a lot from us. Businesses, opportunities,

Loved ones.

It took the blissful innocence of never hearing the words “unprecedented times”. The pandemic showed us that sometimes, life can suck. It’s not going to be all golden days and glorious adventures. Sometimes it’s going to rain on your perfect day, or you are going to trip and scrape your knee.

But Covid showed us something else. It revealed how much we care about each other. From Izzy Mazzi, who made crimson hearts to spark joy in a dark time, to every blue scrubbed hero across the nation who held us all together. One of the most fantastic characteristics of the human experience is how we rise to a challenge. The strength of our community shone through, even when it felt like we were crumbling.

We are still here, we made it! Through hours staring at a screen, through fear and the uncertainty of an unstable world, through every assignment due at 11:59, we made it. Covid was a big hurdle. It corrupted our expectations so that days blurred into months which faded into more than a year.

Sometimes it feels like it is still March 2020, like, more than anything, Covid stole our time. The monotony of sitting in my blue room staring at my blue screen made the whole world lose its color.

But I don’t want to lose any more time.

I don’t want you to lose any more time.

Perhaps it is a bit idealistic. But if Covid has taught me anything, it’s that every moment is infinitely precious. I want us to treasure all these moments, the exciting and the dull, forever, as they are all beloved fragments of our lives.

I want us to live every moment so fully and intensely that it is seared into the grain of our memory. I want us to cup every experience within our hands and stash it away so that it can live on perpetually. I want us to remember soft white petals floating on a spring day, to remember the fervor of homecoming football games, to remember competitively donning yellow, green, red, and blue, and I even want us to remember the sleepy quiet of library study halls.

I want all of us to recall these moments years from now in the same bright saturation as the day we experienced them because I'm sure, as we are about to leave them behind, we realize how invaluable they are.

The pandemic is just one of the many hurdles we will face, but it is one of the many we will overcome. If it rains on your perfect day, go and dance in the puddles. Find the magic in every falling drop. I can promise you it is there if you just tilt your head back and look up. If you fall and scrape your knee, turn it into a fashion statement with a neon green band-aid.

Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but if we can find joy in the rain, we can appreciate every heartbeat.


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