Thanks to the 'lost spring seniors'

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With the printing and posting of Part XV of "Hearing from the lost spring seniors" in Tuesday's edition of The Sumter Item, the project itself came to an end.

There were 73 student-athletes from the spring sports teams from the seven South Carolina High School League schools and five SCISA schools in our 3-county coverage area who chose to participate. We reached out to each of the spring sports head coaches at the respective schools to pass along to their student-athletes what we were wanting to accomplish.

Needless to say, we couldn't have been happier with the response in terms of numbers. Yes, we know there are more "lost spring seniors" out there, but to have as many as we did willing to share their perspectives was tremendous.

And what was even better than the number of responses, was the depth of the responses by the student-athletes. Some were very succinct, while others went on for several paragraphs. What each one of them was was thought-provoking.

The spring sports student-athletes of the 2020 graduating classes have gone through something that no one else has. The overwhelming majority - if not all of them - had several years involved in their respective sports and had been building to these last few months of their high school careers. Some will have the opportunity to go on to compete at the next level, but the vast number of them knew their careers were coming to an end after graduation.

Of course, they didn't even get that, having the rug pulled out from under them with the shutdowns due to the coronavirus and the ensuing pandemic.

Just as they had no games to play, as a media outlet there were no games to cover. While we were looking for content for our publication and various social media outlets, we came up with this concept. While meeting an obvious need for us, this presented a platform for these senior student-athletes to express themselves and let the rest of us know what they were feeling.

The Sumter Item wants to thank all of those who chose to participate in this endeavor. And to all of the "lost spring seniors" as well as the rest of the 2020 graduates, we wish you a future knowing that your steps are ordered and that great things await you. May God bless each and every one of you!