The heart of every small Texas town is its school district.

Each year follows the rhythm of the school calendar. Parents watch their children learn and grow, teachers monitor the rates of academic progress, and shared memories are formed as students stride into new responsibilities.

For the class of 2020, that “stride” was a bit longer.

In Kaufman, as many parents were forced to stay home while their businesses and work was temporarily ending, many of its students became the essential workers in town: stocking shelves with food, checking out customers, filling orders in drive-thru lines, and ensuring that the daily exchange of the most basic goods continued to happen.

Alyssa Chavez works at Brookshire’s. When asked to sum up her school year she said, “I feel like I have been robbed of some memories.” No doubt many students and parents of every grade feel the same. After she paused to think, she added, “but I’ve also got to make some new ones.”

There are memories of the 2019-2020 school year that students will not get to have. Those memories are shared across each and every year as a common bond of experience.

For the Class of 2020, some of the memories will be theirs alone. As they became “essential,” they also became historic.

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