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Utah lawmakers honor the Class of 2020, acknowledge their ‘sacrifice’ graduating amid a pandemic

SHARE Utah lawmakers honor the Class of 2020, acknowledge their ‘sacrifice’ graduating amid a pandemic

The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers honored high school and college graduates for the challenges they have faced graduating school amid the upheaval and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Legislators passed a resolution honoring students’ accomplishments Thursday afternoon during a special session, giving a number of shoutouts to family members who’ve graduated and applauding loudly for the graduates gathered in the House and Senate galleries.

“We want the Class of 2020 to know that we recognize their strength for being able to finish out this year remotely and finding ways to make the best of a tough situation,” said House sponsor Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry. “God bless the Class of 2020.”

Legislators took turns praising college and high school graduates for “finishing strong” despite the unexpected disruptions to their schooling, lamenting the opportunities seniors have lost because of coronavirus.

Still, lawmakers said, despite the additional challenges they remain confident in the graduates’ ability to invoke change and move into the future with confidence.

“If any group is able to take these kinds of changes and disappointments it’s this class of 2020. They really are a special group of people and my hat is off to them,” said Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding. “Even though it’s a disappointment it’s going to be a huge distinction for their entire life that they’ve handled this situation and been able to navigate this path.”