Throughout my Lower school as well as middle school career at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, I’ve always looked up to the high school seniors with a sense of admiration. By middle school, I was able to begin engaging with seniors through volleyball and cheerleading.
My freshman year began with varsity volleyball season, where I was able to befriend seniors as well as further my sense of admiration for the seniors; however, I was not aware of all the experiences that come with being a senior. I distinctly remember being told my freshman year by a senior, “I promise you, every year of high school goes by faster and faster until you realize you’re at graduation.” Of course, my freshman mind simply shook off this warning.
Looking back on that quote now, I can attest that that was the most valid statement I have ever heard.
When August rolled around this year, I was filled with mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness. I was incredibly excited because I was finally the senior that my younger self had admired in the previous years; however, my excitement was paralleled with a sense of uneasiness due to the hard decisions I would have to make regarding college and my future. The thought of senior year abruptly ending did not even cross my mind.
The past few months of my senior year flew by, just as my former teammate had warned me. The third quarter came and left with swiftness, meaning the fourth and final quarter was about to begin. My friends and I had been eagerly awaiting this quarter, as it meant senior parties and celebrations were about to begin, which would be followed by festivals and vacations. So, when spring break was brought to a close by our head of school’s email saying we would not attend the following week of school due to the coronavirus, a sense of uneasiness came about; however, we chose to consider this an extra week of spring break rather than time away from friends.
Despite our positive outlook, we were then informed that all schools would now be online. By this time, we had not seen most of our friends in about two weeks due to spring break vacation followed by quarantine precautions, a long amount of time for seniors who would soon not be able to see our friends for months. The fun-filled quarter that we had all looked forward to our senior year was quickly being canceled, one stay-at-home order at a time. Every week that consisted of online learning meant another week lost that could’ve been spent with friends at school.
Now, April has come to a close. My friends and I have lost valuable time with each other during our final weeks at St. Andrew’s after 13 long years. Senior athletes have lost their final sports seasons. We will not be able to go on our long-awaited senior trips. Our senior class will not be able to have traditional senior celebrations such as Baccalaureate; however, despite all of these lost traditions, the most important aspect that we lost was our ability to form those last memories with our senior class. Vacations can be rebooked, memories cannot.
My class at St. Andrew’s is filled with exemplary students who will be attending colleges all over the nation. From the west coast to the east coast, my fellow classmates will represent the school in many positive ways. That being said, we lost the ability to have our final experiences with our friends attending these prestigious colleges far away from home.
Though the plan is to have a graduation celebration in August, it will not be the same as the one in May. Despite all of the lost memories and goodbyes, the coronavirus has clearly demonstrated to me that I cannot take simple, in-person conversations with others for granted.
It is shocking to think that the class of 2020’s senior year came to an end in a matter of weeks, but I am very appreciative of the steps St. Andrew’s, as well as other schools in the state, is taking to ensure that seniors are not being forgotten during this time of chaos.