Written by Devon Mitchell
When the Class of 2020 began their time at Roanoke College in August of 2016, they never would have guessed their time in college would be filled with so many important national and global events. Starting college, catching Pokémon after the summer of Pokémon Go, they would soon become a part of history.
For many in the Class of 2020, fall brought their first opportunity to vote in the 2016 presidential election. In November the race came down between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; a contentious race that made Thanksgiving that year for most families a little awkward. Donald Trump won, became President-Elect Trump, and politics would never be the same. Global politics was also experiencing a series of tumultuous events. Brazil and South Korea impeached their presidents and the United Kingdom shocked everyone when they voted to leave the European Union. Politics weren’t the only headlining topics for the Class of 2020’s first semester. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. By the year’s end we also lost many of the most beloved celebrities such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, and former First Lady Nancy Reagan.
The news didn’t stop when the then freshmen class left for their first winter break. 2017 brought many newsworthy events beginning with Donald Trump’s inauguration. Soon into 2017, ten years after the beginning of the Great Recession, economic growth globally began to accelerate and the stock market was hitting record highs. During the class’ first summer away from Roanoke, they got to experience a total eclipse in August. The beginning of the Class of 2020’s sophomore year coincided with the beginning of the Me Too Movement. After reports of sexual harassment concerning Harvey Weinstein in October, more women began to come out and share their stories of sexual misconduct. 2017 is also the year NFL players took Colin Kaepernick’s lead in taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest.
Not too long into 2018, the Olympics took place in South Korea and the US placed fourth in the winter Olympic Games. At the end of the senior’s second year of college, the United States left the Iran Nuclear Deal surprising many Americans and other countries. During the midterm elections of 2018, US citizens showed up and voted in the most diverse group into the House of Representatives, which would contribute to the Democrats regaining control of the House. 2018 was also when the infamous hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took place. Another significant moment for women’s rights took place when Saudi Arabia lifted its ban against women being able to drive.
Coming back from winter break, the US government was experiencing it’s longest shutdown which lasted 35 days. One of the most noteworthy news stories of the year took place in August 2019. The Class of 2020 began their last year at Roanoke College! With the beginning of their senior year, there was widespread coverage of the fires in the Amazon Rainforest. Although the fires decreased in October in the Amazon, they rose in Brazil’s Cerrado region. Mid-November brought formal hearings for the impeachment of President Trump, and in December the house approved two articles of impeachment to be sent to the Senate. 2019 was also the year of protests as protestors took the streets in Hong-Kong, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Chile, and India to name a few.
2020 came and finally the finish line was in sight for the seniors. Also in sight was the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s announcement that they would be stepping down as “senior royals,” and would become financially independent. At the end of January, the United Kingdom would also dominate the news when they formally withdrew from the EU. Around the beginning of February, the world began dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19. The Democratic race also heated up with more than 25 candidates, which eventually reduced to sole candidate Joe Biden in April. To the delight of many non-New England fans, quarterback Tom Brady decided to leave the New England Patriots after nearly 20 years to take on the sunset years of his career in sunny Tampa Bay.
During their time at Roanoke, the Class of 2020 has bore witness to four news-filled years. They themselves have been part of history, beginning their journey voting in the 2016 elections and ending their time in unusual times. Despite the peculiar years they have lived through, they will continue to make history and news wherever they go as alumni of Roanoke College.