Learning through adversity; Fayette County senior class presidents send video message

Posted at 1:26 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 09:57:10-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Jarvis Byrd was looking forward to this year’s high school graduation ceremony. The class president of Carter Woodson Academy had a special tribute planned.

“I was actually going to hold (a picture of) my brother, who passed away in a car accident,” Byrd said of his plans for the ceremony.

Byrd, like the other roughly 2,000 Fayette County High School seniors, along with the senior class members from across the state and country, will have to postpone, if not altogether cancel any plans they had for graduation this spring. But rather than bemoan their fate, the class presidents from several of the district’s schools got together to take part in a video message, which offered some wisdom beyond their years.

“That we’re not going to let this define us, and we have to look at this as a positive thing; we’re the first class to ever go through this and we’re going to come out stronger for it,” Byrd said.

Their message demonstrated that these young men and women “get it.” While the COVID-19 pandemic has stripped them of everything they spent a lifetime working towards, it’s merely a bump in the road. A life’s lesson that things don’t always go your way.

The video, which was produced and directed by Hunter Baker, has been making the rounds on social media. Eight students from various high schools across Lexington are featured in the video delivering the message, with a closing shot of them standing at least six feet apart. They want their fellow classmates to “rise,” and urge them not to allow the pandemic to define their school years.

“The Class of 2020 won’t be defined as the class of facemasks and quarantine,” said one of the video’s participants.

Byrd will be attending Asbury University in the fall, (or whenever it is deemed safe to do so). He will be playing basketball, while majoring in journalism. He and his fellow classmates have already told a great story about the best way of coping with the impact coronavirus is having on the Class of 2020.

“…just wanting to change the narrative, and give a positive outlook on it,” Byrd said.