Better Together
Publisher Jeanna Crawford • Artwork by Cheryl Cochran
June, 2020 - Issue #189

Sappy? Yes. Accurate? Also, yes.
In 2007, I was honored to be named Santa Clarita's "Woman of the Year." It feels like a lifetime ago - because it was. Kyle and I have since weathered numerous storms, including losing his brother, Keith; thriving through an autism diagnosis for our son; and, well, life.
My acceptance speech included those song lyrics I now cite again above. Before, it was in reference to my work with local organizations that serve at-risk and differently-abled kids. Today, it's for all our children - because not one has gone unaffected this school year.
But while my heart has enough room for every kid struggling to adjust to pandemic life, a big slice of it is reserved for the Class of 2020. Over the last 30 days, I've had the privilege of speaking to numerous 2020 students, parents and grandparents - and we've cried together. Every. Single. Time.
"Class is in session on the bad days; as rough as they can be, they can set you up for success when life's true tests cross your path."
These families aren't broken, they're shattered. Like a cracked glass pane that reflects even more light with each tiny vein that travels across it, the Class of 2020's hardships have made them more unique, luminous... and tough.
It's true - the bad days make us stronger, and these shattered pieces have sharp edges that will help the Class of 2020 cut through life's distractions and focus on what matters the most to them.
That's why I chose a kaleidoscope to visually signify the Class of 2020 on our cover. Constantly changing and colorful, each element shines alone while providing beautiful balance and contrast to the others.
The Class of 2020 is smart. They've learned first hand that you really discover what you're made of when the worst happens. Class is in session on the bad days; as rough as they can be, they can set you up for success when life's true tests cross your path.
Still, I wish that they didn't have to learn this lesson. It feels like extra credit that pulls your grade down instead of up.
That's why I wanted to create our Tribute to the Class of 2020. I believe that if our best body of work isn't the result of this Big Lesson, we did it wrong - and there aren't any makeup tests. These kids deserve to have their destinies preserved - and I wanted to help with that. It's my body of work - with a lot of help from my friends.
Each of us has the opportunity to grow through this challenge. It requires us to stretch through the discomfort, but in the end, that new flexibility will allow us to be open to beauty and breakthroughs we never expected. This issue commemorates that for me and I hope it does the same for the Class of 2020.
It's said that hard lessons make for better leaders. If that's the case, we're in good hands with this generation of learners. Congratulations to the strong, the shattered, the beautiful graduating class of 2020!
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