There is no question that 2020 was a rough year, as the Black Lives Matter movement for social justice collided with a deadly pandemic the likes of which the world had not seen in a century. There was upheaval across the country, as demonstrations against police violence occasionally turned violent themselves, including here in Boston. The number of dead from COVID-19 is approaching half a million, and the financial devastation is incalculable — from businesses and jobs lost to families left homeless. And then there was a presidential election, which both parties had warned would be "the most important in a generation."

GBH News covered all these events and more. Here are our top 10 stories of 2020.

1. When COVID And Cancer Collide: A Teen Struggles With Her Mother's Diagnosis
Since the start of the school year, Anne Laurie Pierre has chronicled her experiences as a senior at Everett High School through interviews and video diary updates as part of GBH News’ COVID and the Classroom series. She has described the challenges of trying to stay motivated through long days of remote learning. She has also shared the devastating impact of COVID on her family. Her father had beaten colon cancer and had been cancer-free for four months when he contracted COVID last spring. He died in April, after two weeks on a ventilator. Anne Laurie's mother, who works long hours as a certified nursing assistant and is the sole breadwinner of the family, was diagnosed with COVID twice this year. Then the news got worse.

2. Baker Administration Inflates Its Claim Of Spending With Minority Businesses
Most government contracts in Massachusetts have a mandate that some percentage of the work must go to minority-owned companies. But as part of our ongoing investigative series, “The Color of Public Money,” the GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting found the state has allowed contractors to meet their goal by paying for goods or services that may have nothing to do with a government contract. And many of the businesses getting paid are outside of Massachusetts, are not certified as being minority-owned, or appear to barely exist at all.

3. These Youth Mentors Search For Students Gone AWOL During The Pandemic
Officials in the COVID era tend to measure school progress by the number of laptops and connections doled out to students. But national surveys of educators have found there may be a bigger problem than which students are connected. The number students not going to school at all has risen by 10 percent — whether schools are in-person, hybrid or remote. Harvard Professor Todd Rogers predicts "catastrophically bad" levels of learning loss and disengagement in poorer school districts among legions of students struggling on the academic margins. In Brockton, GBH Reporter Meg Woolhouse found a unique program designed to combat the disturbing national trend.

4. Eviction Threat Looms Again With Moratorium End
One of the first things Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker did when the coronavirus pandemic hit was to institute a tight moratorium on evictions. But that moratorium expired in October, prompting judicial officials and lawyers involved with housing cases to brace for multiple waves of legal actions as court proceedings resume. The state’s six-month moratorium put on hold more than 11,000 pending eviction cases, according to an estimate from the trial court.

5. Surrounded By National Guardsmen, Protesters Speak Out: The System Is Working, But Not For Us
In a year full of protests, this demonstration in June was specifically designed to be what others often were not: a showcase of peaceful protesters decrying a system devised to put down people of color. The mid-week event was planned to end before the city’s curfew, “in the middle of the day, in broad daylight,” in an effort to avoid violent escalation.

6. What You Need To Know About The Election Day You Never Hear About
On Dec. 14, 538 individuals gathered in 50 locations across the country to decide who will be president for the next four years. Normally, the electoral college vote is just one of a series of procedural, pro-forma steps before the Oval Office welcomes a new occupant, with little fanfare or attention. But this year, plenty of electoral minutia — from the auditing of provisional ballots to the role of canvassing boards to the certification of elections — has been thrown into the national spotlight. Our Curiosity Desk helped explain the ins and outs of the electoral college, what its members do, and why they do it this way.

7. Calls For Boston Police Reform Evoke Almost 30 Years Of Tension
In June, in the wake of local and national protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis. He also announced a series of initiatives aimed at ending systemic racism at every level of city government — including within the Boston Police Department. By September, calls for police reform had reached a fever pitch, as the legislature debated new laws to regulate police practices, including the adoption of body cameras, banning the use of choke holds, and creating new guidelines requiring officers to intervene if they witness a fellow officer using unnecessary force.

8. Scientists Solve Key COVID Mystery: Why Do Patients Lose Ability To Smell?
One of the most notable symptoms separating COVID-19 from the flu is the temporary — or not so temporary, as it turns out — loss of smell. New research led by scientists at Harvard University Medical School explained why this happens. Harvard neuroscientists took a close look at a specialized type of sensory neurons in the nose that detect and transmit smells to the brain. And the study's authors said their findings could lead to eventual treatments for a range of neurological disorders caused by the virus.

9. E-Sports Take Center Stage As Coronavirus Pushes Sports To Sidelines
As professional sports essentially shut down in the early days of the pandemic, e-sports and video games became among the only outlets left standing for competitive sports. Even before the pandemic forced much of the world indoors, e-sports had already established itself as an entertainment mainstay. Over half a billion people are expected to watch e-sports by 2023, and the stay at home requirements of the coronavirus may only accelerate that trend.

10. As Coronavirus Fears Mount, Parents Of Teens Face A Reckoning: How Much Freedom Is Too Much?
If you’re the parent of a teenager, you know the biggest source of familial friction isn’t phones or friends or eye rolls. Instead, it’s something much bigger: the inevitable need to cede control and agency to your child, even when it’s not clear they’re ready for it, and even when exercising agency could put them at risk. Throw an escalating global pandemic into the mix, and the picture gets even more complicated.