Emma Conway is a senior at Cannon Falls High School.  She is an editor in chief for the school online newspaper, The Lantern. Serves as an intern with the local Cannon Falls Beacon newspaper, works on the school yearbook, The Cannonrama (in it's 100th year).  In addition she has her own website emmaeconway.wordpress.com which features some of her work.  Fittingly under her name at the top of her website comes the subtitle.  Every story-big or small-matters.

On March 19, 2020 Emma posted this letter on The Lantern online newspaper.  I was impressed and think many of you will be also.  Thanks Emma for your honesty and wisdom shortly after COVID-19 was thrust into our lives.  I think you will agree her perspective is amazing.

This is her letter:

Dear COVID-19

You've caused fear, anger, and sadness across the country like I've never seen before.  As the cancellations keep mounting---whether school, state tournaments, or class trips--high school seniors, such as myself, are crying.  Feeling gypped.  What about Prom, Senior Night, or even Graduation?  Unlike many in the world today, I'm going to stop screaming and utter two words hardly anyone has said to you:  thank you.  Instead of focusing on the darkness, I'm choosing to focus on the light.

Over 8,200 people have died globally (34,686 as of March 30) from the virus with cases multiplying everyday.  Death tolls are plastered everywhere.  But what about the man in Italy who decided to turn his anguish into awareness and record a video while his sister lay dead in the bed behind him?  What about the man in Washington who was on death row until he was given a failed Ebola fighting medication?  What about those who contract the virus and recover?  To that I say thank you.

More than half of Americans will lose their job during the crises.  Yet what about the business owners who are giving back in a variety of ways?  What about those in communities who are picking up meals curbside at a local favorite? What about the grocery and retail stores who are hiring new workers almost on the spot?  To that I say thank you.

Medical personnel are on overtime, combating  you.  Now those doctors, nurses, and EMT's may finally get some credit.  To that I say thank you.

Although sometimes excluded or teased, the elderly are being offered a helping hand at grocery stores by those at lower risk.  To that I say thank you.

While students are at home, parents are finally seeing the chaos teachers deal with on any average school day.  To that I say thank you.

Coaches, advisers, captains, school board members, government officials, and "ordinary" people around the country are stepping up as extraordinary leaders even in uncertainty.  To that I say thank you.

Everyone, now more than ever, is relying on journalists to cover not solely you, but silent heroes too.  There's restored trust in the media.  To that I say thank you.

So yeah, you bring darkness; however, you also bring light.  Never again will the world take social interactions for granted.  You have brought countries together, restoring my faith in humanity.  I've never seen individuals check on each other this much.  I've never seen individuals be this vulnerable and genuine on social media.  I've never seen this many individuals, regardless of race, religion, or political party, come together to fight one common cause---you.

And to that I say thank you.

Sincerely,

Emma Conway

A Minnesota high school senior

Thank you Emma for your insight.  Thank you Emma for your positivity.  Thank you Emma for seeing the silver lining in one very dark cloud.  Thank you Emma for writing your letter to COVID-19.

Even in darkness there is much to be thankful for.  That is the lesson of COVID-19.

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