Class of COVID

From – Everyone has a COVID story now, and for those aged 16-18, the story likely has something to do with school and extra-curricular disruptions during a critical period of their lives.

We often like to say they were the best years of our lives, and noticing this—despite the fact that he didn’t even have a child on the podium—Graham Williams wanted to make sure that Denver Public Schools graduates from the ‘Class of COVID’ had something special to make them feel celebrated, as well as something to turn to if they ever needed advice.

As the CEO and founder of Impart, a unique gift-giving company, Williams put together a graduation book brimming with life lessons and advice from Colorado’s celebrities big and small.

After all, what could be more inspiring for a high school football player who hasn’t been able to play because of the lockdowns than a heartfelt message from Payton Manning?

“We’re big believers in the power of sharing life lessons, and we thought ‘Boy, we see a need in the community where these high schoolers have really had a tough time and shown their mettle, and we’ve got a platform where we can use the tools we have to put a gift in front of all of“We wanted to say: ‘one, that the entire community is behind you and you’re not alone in this, and two, what a great job you’ve done in difficult times.’”

Featuring everyone from local news anchors to philanthropists, athletes, artists, and civil servants, the 21-page book—which you can download for free at home—poses a simple question to each person featured: If you could go back and tell your high school graduate self one thing, what would it be?

“Passion and love will take you further and fulfill you more than anything else will,” says Missy Franklin, a five-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer.

“Question everything and never turn down an adventure,” says Colorado House Representative Jennifer Bacon.

“Live your life, not the life you think your parents, friends, or society want you to live,” says KBCO, 97.3 FM radio host DJ Keefer.

“What we wanted to do was gather a diverse and inspiring set of responses based on different experiences, and we wanted those responses to resonate with the students of Denver schools,” explains William.

“We didn’t know what was going to come back when we made the request, but we were really gratified at how the community really rallied around the students, wanted to show their support… and how genuine the respondents were.”

Hopefully with 21 pieces of wisdom, the students of Denver schools will feel a little more prepared for life beyond high school classrooms—and that their graduation was a special day after all.