Sophomore Reagan Henderlite's NYT Essay and Photos

Reagan Henderlite '24 submitted an essay and accompanying photos to a New York Times Learning Network’s “Coming of Age in 2020” Contest, and her submission was selected from over 5,500 entries (fewer than 3% chosen). Reagan entered the New York Times contest as part of her Photography I class with Mrs. Laura Woods, who was a photo-journalist prior to coming to teach her craft at Davidson Day.

The book, which will be published by Norton in 2022, will feature a selection of about 150 wonderful pieces to tell the story of what her generation experienced in that “year like no other.” Attached are the two photos that Reagan submitted to accompany her essay:

“I’m fine.” The lie easily slips past our lips after rehearsing the same sentence over and over. Our generation doesn't want others to carry our burdens, so we keep our problems to ourselves. We don’t want to be the reason that someone else feels the same way we do. 

Or maybe it’s because we don’t trust you with our honesty. Maybe it’s because, when we do tell the truth, our small cries for help fall upon deaf ears. “Attention-seeking” “immature” “dramatic” “complaining” “overreacting” --any effort made to explain ourselves is ignored and excused. 

Adults don’t understand that we are lost and drowning in this world where we are expected to carry so much weight. One would be foolish to believe that the backbone of an entire generation could be upheld by two little words.