2021 seniors suffer drastic consequences from COVID protocols

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A traditional prom photo from the WHS 1959 yearbook.

Sarah Augustine, Co-Editor-in-Chief

I imagined attending an elaborate and black-and-white dance and a festive prom. I imagined showing off my spirit through dressing up in the daily themes during spirit week. I imagined repping my college t-shirt and taking pictures with my classmates. I imagined screaming at the top of my lungs and running out of the cafeteria during the countdown of my last few seconds of high school. I imagined walking across the stage to receive my diploma from the school principal, while being cheered on by all of my family and friends. I have always had a vision for my senior year in high school.

Due to limitations made to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the class of 2021 has drastically missed out on the traditions of high school. Our graduating class has truly suffered the consequences of the pandemic. We have not been granted the opportunity to join together as a whole and celebrate our accomplishments, and all of our privileges have been stripped from us, which I have found to be extremely disappointing. 

Although the younger classes have missed out on other various dances, clubs and activities, and sports, the class of 2021 has been forced to neglect both these smaller aspects of high school, as well as the most iconic high school experiences that many look forward to for years. 

“A lot of the loss, I feel, is a loss of new and exciting opportunities,” senior Mimi Gotbetter commented. 

In agreement with Gotbetter, senior Alexa Lim has felt the effect of the losses the class of 2021 has experienced.  

“It’s been the hardest to lose social gatherings and our senior events. After looking forward to senior year for all of high school, it is hard to not be able to celebrate it and get to experience it,” Lim noted. 

Not only have senior students suffered from the loss of celebratory activities, but we have also experienced loss in terms of the college process. Many seniors have been unable to visit schools and get the data points they need to make a secure decision. 

“Unfortunately, due to COVID I was hardly able to visit any colleges throughout the process. I actually ended up deciding on a school I’ve never visited before, which is sort of scary,” Gotbetter expressed. “I had to put a lot of trust into the info I heard online, the experiences of other students, and my gut feeling about schools when deciding since I was unable to visit.”

Being a lacrosse player, my recruiting process to play the sport in college was greatly impacted. My junior year season, which can be seen as the most important season to be showcased, was cancelled, and I was also unable to attend my club team’s tournaments to connect with coaches. 

Although I was able to get recruited to a school, I was only able to visit the college once. I was unable to attend a formal tour that included exploring buildings, and I had to make a crucial decision with a more limited perspective than past players who were committing. 

Despite the hardships and disappointments my class and I have faced, senior class president Nate Icke is working hard to ensure the best outcome for the end of the year. 

“I envision graduation being almost normal,” Icke stated. “Unfortunately, we are unable to have a formal senior overnight, which will definitely be a big loss, but if the ceremony itself can be special, I think it will make up for it. I am very hopeful.”

Like Icke, I am looking forward to a celebratory graduation to end this disheartening year. However, I do not expect my remembrance of my senior year of high school to be as joyous as I had hoped, nor do I envision the graduation ceremony to account for the drastic losses experienced by the class of 2021.