Written by Sierra Bullock (Features Writer)
The Coronavirus is affecting and changing our community in many ways. The virus has, for the most part, held us in our homes and kept us from seeing friends and loved ones. The virus has also taken many things away from people, due to CoronaVirus, there has been a shelter in place order enforced, which means that schools are closed throughout the country for the rest of the year. Students are continuing classes through virtual distance learning online. As we have cut the 2019-2020 school year short by around 4 months, this leaves the senior class of 2020 in an interesting position. They cannot continue the school year just as everyone else, they are not able to attend their senior prom as it was canceled, and they have also had their high school graduation most-likely cancelled. Having a graduation would mean breaking social distancing, and is not acceptable for the state of the virus in our environment currently. This is very unfortunate and sad for our seniors. A lot of them are feeling confused and sad about the whole thing, and wish things could be different. Some, have accepted that this is what has happened and that just maybe everything happens for a reason.
I personally feel very upset for our seniors, and wish they could have had the celebration they deserved for all of their hard work and accomplishments. It has taken them a very long time to get to this point in their lives, and it is a great accomplishment to have gotten where they have. They have persevered through many years of schooling and finally made it to the end. It is very unfortunate that this is the year something like this had to happen, but luckily our staff at SLV are working as hard as possible to give them the best experience possible, given circumstances.
Some of the Slvhs seniors have given their input and thoughts on the situation. One said “ I honestly have had a good amount of time to mentally adjust to this new reality and at this point, I find myself quite neutral towards it. What I do find unfortunate is that we will not be able to experience the joy of having a great big graduation, as to go out with a bang.”. Another said “It is difficult to explain, but my initial reaction was disbelief. I could not believe that after all the years we put into school that we might not get a graduation or experience the last best couple months of our lives. As days went on it started to sink in how this was all real, and there was nothing I could do about it. Knowing that every senior is going through this across the globe is crazy. I am hoping that instead of canceling it all together that they could push it back to a later date.”
These students are very upset about the current situation but still keeping hope for whatever the staff has in mind. Another student says this about the situation “I’m bummed that our senior year was cut short and that we do not get to have a normal senior year, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and it is not just our senior year that has been ruined. There are definitely a lot of bigger problems happening around the world and if not having graduation means keeping people healthy and safe, then I am all for it. With that being said, I still believe there should be some sort of celebration down the road when it is safe for people to gather again to celebrate the senior’s hard work.”
On April 20’th the seniors picked up their caps and gowns from Leslie Burns and Claire Hackett along with some volunteers at a drive-through in frount of the school. Some students had some feedback about their experience after collecting their items. One student said “It was definitely a big change from what everyone expected, and obviously we are all bummed that things are not going as planned. Picking up my cap and gown at the drive-through was definitely weird, but it was sweet how they decorated the fence and it was nice.
Seeing all the volunteers. I know all of our staff all really do care about us and have said that they are planning on celebrating our graduation one way or another at some point, so I am sure that will be great when it does happen.” Another senior said “I really liked the fact that the seniors got to pick up their caps and gowns, I think that it shows personality within each student. Not having a normal graduation really bums me out, but I am really hoping that we can have the opportunity to have some recognition for the work we have put in.” One last student states that “ I was so sad when I picked up my cap and gown because Leslie and Mrs. Hackett were there to cheer for everyone. I went home and tried it all on and while it made me feel so proud of myself for getting to this point in my life, I am sad it is not the way it truly should be. Hopefully, the graduation still happens but just gets moved to a later date because we seniors need to put those nice caps and gowns to use! We worked so hard for this moment.”
The seniors truly have earned something special and have truly accomplished something very important and should be very proud of themselves even if it is not playing out the way they thought it was going to. Their counselor Leslie Burns had this to say about the situation. “ I was really touched to be able to help give the seniors their caps and gowns this year with Mrs. Hackett. We were able to hand the caps and gowns to students through their car windows. It was very different from any previous year but the excitement was the same. It was great to see the students and realize we are still approaching this significant milestone. We are not canceling the graduation but we are working hard to find a way to honor the class of 2020 that will definitely look different. We are working with county health and law enforcement to come up with a plan that allows these students to celebrate with their families and friends in the midst of all that we are going through while continuing to stay safe and healthy.”
Although the senior class of 2020 is not ending their journey with school exactly how they thought they would, our staff is looking for a safe alternative to honor the senior class and give them the recognition that they truly deserve.