The Class of 2024 has much to celebrate as they receive their diplomas and welcome the future. While the road ahead will be challenging, the graduates have proven themselves more than prepared to face it.

Like other classes of their generation, they have had to contend with the usual travails on the path to adulthood — but also the extraordinary circumstances of 2017’s Hurricane Irma and the Covid-19 pandemic that followed.

That adversity has surely affected their education in ways that they will need to acknowledge and address now and in years to come. But it has also undoubtedly instilled in them the flexibility and tenacity that they will need to meet the challenges of the future.

After Irma, for example, most high school students had to attend classes in temporary facilities under a shift schedule for years.

That came on top of the struggles that nearly all Virgin Islands residents confronted in those trying days: food and housing insecurity; the sudden absence of things once taken for granted, such as consistent power and drinking water; and a lingering sense of uncertainty.

Anyone who navigated such a catastrophe would have developed flexibility, perseverance and other skills valuable for tackling the challenges of a modern workforce.

Additionally, as climate change escalates, disasters like Irma will become increasingly common, especially in island nations like the VI. Irma survivors are well positioned to understand the ramifications of the climate crisis — and to take a lead in fighting back.

Less than three years after Irma, Covid-19 hit VI shores in early 2020, bringing illness and inconvenience in the form of lockdowns, curfews and restrictions one doesn’t normally associate with the typical freedom of youth. As learning went online in a rushed experiment, students, teachers and parents alike had to adapt quickly.

The ability to cope with the rapid adoption of new technology, however, is another skill that will prepare these graduates well for emerging roles in the modern economy.

Just as the Class of 2004 came of age during the infancy of social media and the smart phone and the Class of 1984 saw the birth of the VI financial services sector and the rise of computing, the Class of 2024 would do well to prepare for an age of artificial intelligence.

Job opportunities that seem only conceptual today will become commonplace tomorrow, just as ubiquitous careers currently in high demand will wane in short order.

Change may be constant, but values endure. Today’s graduates would do well to commit to working hard, being creative but pragmatic, being unafraid of failure, having patience and empathy for their fellow humans, and doing what they can to make the VI and the wider world a better place to live.

We congratulate them and wish them the strength and wisdom they will need to find success on the road ahead.