Class of 2021: The Pandemic Graduates

Seniors+Jayden+Haley%2C+Kersten+Smith%2C+and+Sarah+Christy+%28left+to+right%29+pose+together+after+running+at+the+district+cross+country+meet

Seniors Jayden Haley, Kersten Smith, and Sarah Christy (left to right) pose together after running at the district cross country meet

The class of 2021 got hit hard by Covid this year. Many of their normal senior year experiences were canceled or changed to fit Covid guidelines. Changes have been made to the way graduation will be conducted, prom and homecoming were canceled this year, and students spent the majority of the year learning virtually from home so they weren’t able to interact with their peers in the same ways as before. 

For graduation this year, students were given the option of attending a group ceremony where the class is split up alphabetically, or attending a personal ceremony where it’s just them and their family, and the majority that were questioned say they plan on participating in the smaller group ceremonies. The split in the alphabet, however is a major concern for some graduates, including senior MacKenzie Zickert. “I don’t get the finality of graduating with my friends simply because of the alphabet. The purpose is understandable but it is upsetting.” Many seniors say it would be better to have the whole class graduate together like in a normal year because it’s an experience that everyone looks forward to during their school years. For the group ceremony, each student is allowed six tickets and a lot of students think they would rather have a full class graduation with less tickets than a split up graduation with more. “If it is safe to have half the graduates with six guests each then it definitely would have been safe to have all the graduates with two guests each. It’s sad that I will not be able to graduate with all of my friends,” says senior Robert Lotito. 

Other seniors like this version of graduation because the ceremony will be shorter, they get to be outside, and it’s closer to a normal graduation than other options that were considered. Senior Taylor Puig says, “with more tickets and being outdoors I think I do prefer this [version]. Most of my friends will be in the same group as me and I am very fortunate for that.” Seniors who have chosen to graduate individually like this opportunity to not have to be around others or have to sit through what can be a very long and boring ceremony. “I think it works for everyone, those who want to be with their classmates and those who don’t,” states senior Doris Melgar.

The class of 2021 missed out on lots of key moments this year because of the changes to the school schedule. They didn’t get to experience the normal traditions of their senior year, including going to prom, wearing togas to school, a normal graduation, and more. Many seniors are most disappointed about missing prom including senior Zoey Young. “I didn’t get my junior prom either, so I’ve never been to one!” she says.

Although this year included many changes, seniors were still able to pick out a favorite memory that stood out to them. “I got to come in for hybrid and see my awesome teachers. I also got to finally hang out with my friends in the morning and at the end of the day so that made me feel a lot better,” explains senior Cameron Mcgrath. Senior Jonah Camp works with the annual school blood drive and the changes to this school year opened up new opportunities with the organization of the event. “My favorite change from this year is how we have been able to run school blood drives off school grounds and incorporate more of the community into it by opening up donation capabilities to adults and other schools’ students,” Camp states. 

The class of 2021 got hit with lots of curve balls this year but many were able to make the most of it and tried to stay as positive as possible throughout the year. Even with the changes, the seniors were able to make some special new memories and celebrate their last high school year as best as they could.