Class of 2020 Valley Valedictorians: Catherine Duncan, Harlingen High School South


              The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Being in a pandemic, life has felt in limbo. Catherine Duncan, Harlingen High School South Class of 2020 Valedictorian says it has been hectic trying to get everything done.

Managing school on an online platform has come with its challenges to stay organized, especially with AP testing.

The biggest adjustment was to be ok with graduation ceremonies being cancelled.

“I’m slightly disappointed as anyone would be but I’m definitely really proud how everyone’s been handling it, adjusting really quickly. It’s been really smooth and I’ve been impressed. I’m appreciative to the district a lot.” 

This pandemic has shown Catherine she is capable of handling any change that comes her way. “I can adapt to new things, and I’m more organized than I thought I was. If this situation happens again, I should just be able to face it head-on and not feel weary for things like that.” 

When she has moments feeling isolated, she reaches out to teachers and anyone outside her household.

She wants to encourage other students to focus on the good.

“Try not to dwell on disappointment and maybe going over what you missed, but instead just be grateful for what you had, live in the memories of high school. Be grateful for what you had and don’t think about what could’ve been but just enjoy what has been, and really try to stay on top of things and keep a positive mindset for what has happened.  I think people are becoming more aware that they have to appreciate what they have and now I think there’s more of a connection to people now that they’ve been deprived of that time together now that they want to connect with each other more. So I think coming out of this with each other, we’re going to appreciate each other and recognize it’s special.” 

This pandemic has made her even more grateful to her teachers.

“They really fostered an environment where I just learned, I was passionate about learning. I had so many questions over the years but they dealt with it all amazingly and they just taught me so well and I’ve learned so much from them, they’ve been amazing.”

Catherine plans to go to Northwestern University near Chicago to study journalism. This crisis has made her more passionate about working in news.  

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