• Joel Hays


    Class of 2021, this has been an extraordinary year in the truest definition of the term. You, your families, and your teachers have been asked to do exceptional things that NO ONE in the 138-year history of DHS has had to do. You’ve masked, you’ve social-distanced, you’ve had a hybrid schedule, you’ve had “program pauses”, and you have Canvas-ed until you can’t Canvas anymore! The one thing COVID has done for you is a huge dose of character!

    So how do we analyze and process this extraordinary year? How can we bundle it up, package it, and make sense of it in relation to our lives and society that are opening back up? I have an idea.

    You have had 4 years of the best English Language Arts instruction in the state. I know you can analyze, write critically, and be persuasive. But what I want to touch on is your AMAZING skills of punctuation . . . specifically, the parentheses. Now I know you can write without a comma splice and have even mastered the dreaded semicolon, but the lowly parenthesis is going to hopefully help us make sense of this past year.

    If you look up the definition of parentheses in the dictionary, you’ll find the following:

    - An additional word, clause, etc. placed as an explanation or comment within an already complete sentence.

    - Additional context supporting the theme of a sentence.

    - An episode or incident, often to the side; an interlude.

    An interlude.

    Lots of graduation speeches make the point of students writing their life stories. And it IS a great analogy. You DO get to create your own story. Some of you will have voluminous tomes like a Tolstoy masterpiece. Others will have a Jim Harrison novella – where quality is stressed over quantity. Regardless, tomorrow you will start a new chapter in your story.

    And what of this COVID-inflicted senior year? It is a parenthesis in your high school chapter – a comment to the side that gives a little context to the amazing adults you have become. So tonight, we put the closing mark on this parenthetical COVID year. The interlude is finished . . . it is time for you to begin that new chapter! Good Luck!


    Joel Hays

    Principal - DHS