Graphic made by A. Guo
Coronavirus has negatively affected all of us in one way or another, but it has also disappointed many seniors who can’t fulfill their high school traditions and experiences. Grace Sun from Panther Creek High School says, “COVID-19 most obviously affected my senior year by making us lose experiences–our last chance to hang out with high school friends, along with prom and graduation.” Senior year is often known as the most enjoyable year of highschool, and having that cut short has been difficult for many. Although there are no seniors at Green Level High School, other schools around Wake County have seniors who have had to face this unexpected ending of their year.
We talked to Elliana Eubanks, a senior at Green Hope about how she’s coping with this situation and she says, “It was really hard at first to come in terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to finish my senior year. I was upset I wouldn’t have graduation or time to really say goodbye or have my senior night track meet. However after a bit I made peace with it and am doing my best to do all those things but from a distance, whether that be by doing a social distancing graduation or video chatting with friends.” Just like Elliana, many seniors are having virtual graduations, banquets, proms and more.
But according to Sun, there may be seniors avoiding virtual celebrations, “People continue to hang out as if the pandemic is over, even throwing prom parties as if prom wasn’t cancelled for a reason,” adding that, “ It’s hard thinking about the possibility of losing out on college.”
Although this idea may seem crazy, looking at a students’ experiences over their 4 years of high school, these are big events, and students have to be creative so they can successfully complete their high school memories and move on to complete new ones. Providing closure for seniors is necessary because the pandemic has forced students to abruptly cancel the rest of their spring, leaving them without a proper chance to say goodbye. Eubanks explained, “I’m going to miss the people from school and I wish I had more time to say bye to them.”
There are countless negatives that quarantine brings up, but there can be positives too. Many seniors are using this time to finish up academics and tests or start networking with their colleges. Eubanks is doing something similar. She said “I’m trying to do the best with what I have been given and make some quarantine memories like connecting with the college I’m heading to, focusing on AP exams and doing reviews for my freshmen year.”
Other seniors like Sun take notice of their perspective, “COVID-19 has also allowed for an opportunity to rest and improve mental health, without the stress of deadlines and grades and 3 hour AP exams. We are so privileged to be able to say that all we lost was prom, while people across the globe mourn lost ones and suffer alone in hospital beds.”
Even though these seniors didn’t get a perfect finish to their high school memories, many people like former president Barack Obama are trying to make this situation as celebratory as possible. Obama offered a voice of hope to all seniors in America. He said “Like most high school/college seniors, I’m saddened by the loss of milestone events, prom & graduation. In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice. The entire class of 2020 send off can be found on NBC’s YouTube channel with guests including Malala Yousafazi, Timothée Chalamet, Dua Lipa, and Kevin Hart.
All high school memories are not the same, and it’s important to realize that even though this may not be the picture-perfect ending to high school as most seniors imagined, many students seem to be making the best out of the situation.