Reversed senioritis

Seniors miss out on the final months of school due to COVID-19

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Photo by Peyton Sims

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Story by Peyton Sims and Cate Rounds

Walking across the stage at graduation. Holding their diploma in their hands. Hugging their friends for the last time before departing for college. The graduating class of 2020 is being heavily impacted by the changes coronavirus is bringing. Due to the pandemic, the date that students will return to their campus continues to be postponed, leaving seniors fearing that they may have already lived through their last day of high school. 

 

“Coronavirus has affected my senior year a lot. At first, it was nice having a break from school, but then I started to think about all of the things I have been looking forward to: senior prom, being able to wear that pretty dress, wondering if that was the last time I would walk the halls of Texas High School, being able to make memories with my friends, seeing my favorite teachers and, most importantly, being able to walk across the stage May 23,” senior Carleigh Sharp said. “I haven’t been too fond of being cooped up in the house all of the time. I wish things would go back to normal. This pandemic has made me realize what I was taking for granted and makes me wish I was back at school.”

 

Seniors, along with everyone else enrolled in school, are having to adjust to taking classes online rather than having an in person lecture. There may be advantages to this method, but students are having to create new routines for themselves in order to be productive. 

 

“My biggest fear about not going back to school is not being able to completely understand the work that is being presented and not being able to get all work turned in,” senior Alex Cope said. “I really want to graduate with the people that I’ve been going to school with for [the past] four years or even the people that I have gone to school with since elementary school. It means a lot for all of us to graduate together. I just hope that everyone has a good head on their shoulders, knows the right thing to do and stays safe. I do think it’s very important to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. I am understanding, but at the same time, I’m still upset.”

 

Sports are coming to a close sooner than expected, leaving seniors longing to experience one more game of their high school career. Soccer, baseball, softball and tennis are among the many sports that have been canceled, along with nationwide championships like March Madness and The Olympics. 

 

“Last year, I was runner up in the 800 and 4th in the 1600 at state, so naturally I went into this season with high goals, one of which being i wanted to have an undefeated season, concluding with a state championship in the 800 and the 1600 at state,” senior varsity track athlete Owen Likins said. “I felt I was ready to go head to head against the best in the state. I was really disappointed when I heard most of my season had been cancelled. It’s always good to have some fast races under your belt going into the postseason. To not have that, you have no benchmark to judge your fitness going into the end of the season.”

 

When teenagers go off to college, it’s likely that they have to branch away from their friend group to pursue their education. This is another reason why seniors are keeping their fingers crossed to return to their regularly scheduled classes so they can spend their last few months of school with their friends. Despite the regulations encouraging people to stay home and avoid groups larger than 10, some teens can’t resist hanging out. 

 

 “I was planning on going on a girls trip this summer for graduation, but sadly, it’s cancelled even though I already bought super cute swimsuits,” senior Megan Harrison said. “I’m scared I won’t get to say goodbye to my younger friends, and I have really been missing people in general. I miss hearing everyone’s laugh, and I never thought I would miss the sound of the awful school bell. I also had plans to attend a Snoop Dogg concert, but it got cancelled. I just hope everyone stays in quarantine for the safety of everyone around them.”

 

Throughout high school, electives and clubs become a home away from home for students and allow them to surround themselves with people who understand them. Groups like newspaper, theater, student council, yearbook and Rosebuds are having to close off their gatherings and cancel future events, some of which students have been looking forward to the entire year. 

 

 “Every other year, the publications staff goes on a trip to New York City to attend the CSPA awards. I remember seeing the editors before me go on that trip and dreaming about when I’d get to experience that with my friends. We planned to have karaoke nights, subway rides, hunt for celebrities, go on museum trips and go to brunch places and diners. And then that was gone,” senior Molly Kyles said. “My biggest fear is that we’ll never get to say goodbye. I’m sure we will eventually have some sort of ceremony, online or otherwise, to celebrate leaving, but I’m worried we won’t get to say bye to the little things, like the work nights in the publications room or the sun in the courtyard, and all those little things we don’t really notice until they’re gone.”

 

A special part of after-school activities, such as sports and clubs, is the bond that forms between the students. From practices to team dinners, these groups have been through thick and thin working their hardest to build each other up for the work ahead. The pandemic has prevented all clubs and sports from getting together, so many people are missing that support they received from the teammates who became like family to them. 

 

“Training without the team has been really tough,” Likins said. “I always tend to run better with someone pushing me during workouts. It gets lonely running all those miles by yourself.”

 

On April 17, governor Greg Abbott officially announced that schools across Texas will remain closed the rest of the school year. One of the biggest questions still remains unanswered, will prom and graduation still take place? As of April 1, prom has been rescheduled to May 21 unless it must be rescheduled or canceled as it gets closer. While it’s too soon to anticipate the severity COVID-19 might reach, many seniors fear the days they’ve anticipated since they were a child may be cleared from their agenda. 

 

“I’ve been missing the social interaction and just talking face to face with people,” senior Mason Shepard said. “I have a fear that graduation will be cancelled, and I think that would be devastating to the senior class if it was. My biggest concern about COVID-19 is that we’ve only seen the beginning, and that it’s just going to mutate and get worse. I feel like we still have a long way to go before this virus is done disrupting our lives and activities. Ironically, I feel this situation is what we as a human race need. We need time to self-reflect and grow, so our world after this can be drastically better than the world we lived in before.”