Anthony Arnoni, a four-year varsity player for the co-op Leyden Eagles, is delivering the Senior Speech to the Illinois High School Community. The 18-year-old Arnoni will attend Elmhurst College in the fall. He was a defenseman in uniform No. 22 who skated his youth career for the Panthers.
By Ross Forman – Anthony Arnoni has simple advice for fellow seniors from the Class of 2020, which has endured the most trying final two months of their high school careers, including the cancellation of the state tournament’s semifinals and championship games.
“We can and will become stronger,” from enduring the coronavirus pandemic since mid-March, he said. “We are the one of the strongest classes; that is why we will (endure) all the madness in the world right now.”
Arnoni and his teammates had been eliminated from the state tournament, yet he knows the sting is real for all four teams in each of the five high school divisions that did not get to finish their seasons. But, he said, everyone must move on from the who-would-have-won debate “because there are issues that are more important than a game.”
“As long as you put your mind and heart to your goal, you will be able to accomplish great things,” Arnoni said when asked for advice he’d give to fellow seniors. “We will forever be marked as the class that had to endure, (yet we will) get through it together.”
Arnoni said many of the senior traditions, such as prom and graduation, are what hurt the most, especially emotionally.
“Personally, I had to learn how much pressure I can handle as a person and use that information to grow,” he said of these past few months.
“We can use our experiences and realize how strong, as a generation, we are and (push) through whatever obstacles life throws our way.”
Arnoni added: “I find some sort of pride being a part of the class of 2020 because we will forever be known as the quarantine class.”
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.