Oh, the places you’ll go.
It’s the opening line to the book of the same name penned by Theodor Geisel, the beloved children’s author known as “Dr. Seuss.”
The sing-song stanzas of the 30-year-old work about venturing forth have long become a staple at school graduations from kindergarten to college.
Dr. Seuss was proclaimed in abundance last June 25, when Monongalia County’s three public high schools were finally able to send their collective Class of 2020 forth, following a pandemic spring where everything was simply shut down.
Gov. Jim Justice made the call on a Friday the 13th in March.
No clubs, no basketball or spring sports.
No swaggering in the main hallway because it was finally your year.
The ceremonies were held at the same time the same evening on the football fields of the three schools.
Socially distanced, they were. Everybody wore face masks, and people in the stands were sparse, because attendance was strictly regulated, by order of the county health department.
And when those seniors finally got to gather, in the final assemblage before embarking upon the places they would go — it was right at the same time that the gang of clouds overhead began to resemble a kid’s water-color painting.
A very angry kid’s water-color painting.
Donna Talerico, the deputy superintendent of Mon Schools, doesn’t know which way the pandemic winds will be blowing by late May 2021.
The coronavirus right now is pushing the district around a bit, with back-to-back cases sending multitudes of students, teachers and other staffers into quarantine.
But the collective Class of 2021 at Morgantown High, University High and Clay-Battelle High has its places to go, also.
And that entails the turning of the tassel.
Graduation ceremonies are set for May 21 for MHS and UHS, the deputy superintendent said, with Clay-Battelle scheduled to send forth its seniors May 23.
Talerico and administrators have already begun meetings on the particulars via Zoom and other socially distanced platforms.
“Well, of course, there’s a lot we don’t know right now,” Talerico said.
“I can tell you that the motivation is the same as the Class of 2020,” she added.
“We just want to give our seniors the best experience we can for graduation.”
Which, for better or worse, is what happened on that Thursday evening last June.
The moms and dads in the stands cheered and whooped at decent decibel levels, given their facemasks and small numbers.
A few seniors took a knee during the recorded strains of the National Anthem, given the summer of social unrest.
“This is extremely fitting for the Class of 2020,” UHS senior Emma Williams deadpanned, as the rain that everyone knew was coming pocked the mortarboards.
At Clay-Battelle, known for its multigenerational families of alumni, Joleigh Sollars seized upon that, as she and her classmates laughed and scurried for cover while the weather crashed the ceremony.
“Never in my life,” she said, “have I seen a more supportive and tight-knit group of people that could uplift each other through the good and bad.”
Zy Woods was amazed that the seniors got the last word after all: A rainbow popped up over Pony Lewis Field after the meteorological onslaught, and the member of the Class of 2020 at MHS made note.
“I know, right?” he said.