The One Where They Graduated During COVID: Seniors reflect on their year



The 2021 class will always remember graduating during COVID and reflect on how it has affected their senior year.

Clara LaRue, Features Editor

High school students everywhere dream of the day they graduate, when they are handed their diploma and all their hard work has paid off. However, the class of 2020 and now the class of 2021 have been hit with a catastrophic event causing major changes in their final year. From school being moved to fully virtual, to not being able to attend their favorite athletic events, this year’s senior class has had to be flexible throughout COVID.
Seniors have had to sacrifice so much within this last year, including sports, Prom, and even just seeing friends and eating lunch with them every day.
“One of my favorite things I miss most from in-person school is being able to be with my friends and having fun before school in the car and after school,” Gabriella Ferrer said.
Many seniors feel that they missed out on learning opportunities because of the lack of social interaction through virtual learning.
“The thing I miss most from in-person school would be being able to interact with my teachers face to face and being able to ask them any questions that I have in class,” Kellen Gentry said.
The point of online school is to keep you “safe” in your houses, but the effects on students’ mental health are discounted in the process.
“What I miss most about in-person school is seeing my friends and teachers. It’s not the same online when everyone has their cameras off and we can’t really talk. I miss just being out of the house and being able to interact with others,” Kyle Eagleston said.
All students, athletes, band members, kids in theatre, and ROTC cadets missed out on key elements of their high school experience, senior students especially.
“Something that I was looking forward to that didn’t work out was me having the full experience
of playing basketball senior year,” Shakira Baskerville said.
As quarantine lasts for what feels like forever, seniors reflect on the time spent taking precautions for COVID and wondering what could have been. The 2021 class understands this, arguably, more than any other class.
“COVID affected my senior [year] as it didn’t allow for the fun activities that happen in senior year such as prom and football games. It has made the year slow and repetitive being online,” senior Jeffrey Song said.
Another memorable day for students is graduation, but just like last year, seniors are questioning what this will look like.
“With COVID restrictions, I know it will probably not be possible for the whole senior class to be able to graduate together. I hope graduation will be as normal as it can be. I hope that we will be able to walk across a stage to get our diploma with our family in the audience,” senior Kameryn Best said.
As the 2021 class is leaving and their last bit of childhood ends, some advice to both the 2024 and 2025 classes entering the bizarre online high school environment is to hang in there because their time will come.
“I would tell them that it will get better. I couldn’t imagine going into high school online. Freshman year is all about making friends who you will stick with throughout all 4 years, and for them to not have that is sad. I hope they don’t get too discouraged because hopefully, by their senior year, it will be better, and they will be able to have their high school experience,” Ferrer said.
Although high school isn’t the best time in everyone’s life, it’s a crucial part of growing up. You make friends that last a lifetime and create memories that will never be forgotten. It’s almost impossible to have those same experiences without being face-to-face, and the grief that has come from COVID is extensive. The seniors, however, persevere. This certainly is a year that they will remember for the rest of their lives.