This past year of online learning has been dramatically different for all students in comparison to the in-person setup of previous school years. From missing out on fundamental memories to increased stress on their college admissions, the class of 2021 has had quite a different experience than previous graduating classes. Being unable to receive the full experience of their final year of high school has greatly affected these upcoming graduates along with making their high school experience much more complicated.
Seniors of MSD have missed out on multiple activities that are meant to shape the memories of their future. Multiple seniors have come forward to reflect their thoughts and experiences about this matter.
Senior year is the final stepping-stone to college. Although these young adults have missed out on significant activities, it is important to not let these obstacles define or prevent their success.
Looking Back on their high school experience
The class of 2021 has experienced various milestones in their past four years of high school. Aside from the rising senior class missing their final first day of school on campus, they appear to have faced far more significant challenges during their high school experience than those before them.
The deadly shooting that occurred at MSD on Feb. 14, 2018, was a tragic way for the class of 2021 to begin their high school career.
Now, as a result of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, these seniors were not able to enjoy the thrill nor cherish the memories of their last moments on campus.
Along with all these negative occurrences, the senior class of 2021 will constantly remember their life-changing years as an MSD Eagle.
As the 2020-2021 school year comes to an end, the senior class will forever be positive, passionate and proud to be an eagle.
“I will continue to admire the unbreakable bonds that were formed with faculty and friends,” senior Lexie Sealy said
Rumors on whether or not events will be happening
Seniors missed out on many of the activities that they would have gotten to do if it was a normal year. Surrounding these missing activities are rumors. Last year students ended the school year on June 2, 2020, while this year, the seniors do not get to finish the school year on schedule due to the lack of school hours this year and will end the year on June 9, 2021. When students were allowed back on campus multiple early release days arose, cutting out the minimum number of schooling hours.
One rumor is about whether the students will experience the typical graduation. Last year students were unable to attend a proper graduation so it was shifted to being online. Though this may be upsetting to many, COVID-19 guidelines would be difficult to follow on graduation day.
Senior Lexie Sealy says, “I think the least we expected was a proper graduation.” Sealy is upset by the fact that the school is letting the sports teams play while the entirety of 12th graders may not get to experience a once in a lifetime event.
She feels that since graduation is a very special day and one that only happens once, the school should be more considerate while deciding what plans to make.
Not only are the school year and graduation surrounded by rumors, but so is prom. Students would regularly dress in formal attire and do things revolving around dance. This year that might change. Seniors may miss out on their last prom due to COVID-19 guidelines. Though this year's prom is possibly cancelled, student government has made plans for the students to make their year still special.
Along with many students Mickella Jean Baptiste said, “I myself am pretty upset about prom possibly being canceled as it would have been the last chance for our class to have fun together.”
How COVID has affected students as they go into college
As the 2020-2021 school year continues, seniors have begun to receive their college acceptance letters, as they would any other year. Though unlike most years, they will be going into college without experiencing a real senior year. Not only has the pandemic affected their high school experience, but it has also affected them as they make their way into a higher level of education.
Students getting ready to enter college have had a rough time preparing to make the switch from high school to college due to the fact that they have not had the full senior year experience. Seniors have had to do classes, along with testing, such as SAT’s and ACT’s in a different way than usual.
“Personally, COVID-19 made my college admissions process much more complicated,” senior Madeleine Greene said. “Standardized testing is such a huge part of that process and there was much less opportunity to actually take the SAT. I experienced numerous instances of test cancellations that just added a lot of unnecessary stress to an already stressful process.”
COVID-19 has not only affected the social life of many seniors but also their education. For many, they feel as if they have not received the attention necessary to be successful in college.
When the pandemic first hit in March, colleges sent home students and closed the campuses, not only did this affect those attending these schools but also those looking into going to them in future years. Many were unable to view campuses and form a true understanding for how they felt about the school.
“COVID-19 has greatly impacted my college acceptance experience.” Senior Lexie Sealy said. “Colleges stop giving in-person tours so I had to do a mix of self guided tours and virtual tours.”
Due to the lack of face-to-face communication between teachers and students, it has been a struggle for many to keep focused and attentive during learning hours, which has caused many to feel as if they have missed out on a full year of education.
“I do not feel as prepared going into college as I would’ve if it weren't for the pandemic,” senior Madison Pallone said. “I felt that I had to do a lot more on my own, and have typically been very stressed. I would've much rather had the help in real school.”
For many high schoolers, school is not just a place to learn but also a source of social interaction. As the class of 2021 makes their way through their senior year, they have not just missed out on valuable academic experiences, but also making memories with their fellow classmates on campus.
What seniors are missing out on
The class of 2021 has missed out on a lot this past year, from Homecoming to Senior Spirit Week and many more special activities. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they did not get to experience their final year of high school, which many claim to be the best.
“This year I’ve missed out on the opportunity of being a part of the multicultural, I was really looking forward to it because it would’ve given me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and show off my culture in my last year of high school,” senior Emily Aniceto said.
The majority of clubs could not carry out their meetings in-person and have instead used Microsoft Teams, a virtual meeting platform. School plays and band concerts were also canceled. COVID-19 has made a large impact on the way students go to school and practice typical activities.
The seniors also missed out on their Senior Step Up, since last school year everything was transferred online at the end of the third quarter. Seniors will not have a traditional graduation like in previous years in order to abide by all the safety precautions that are in place.
“The thing I'm most sad to be missing out on is having a traditional graduation, even if we have an alternative it won’t be the same thing as what we’ve basically been waiting our whole lives.” senior Mickella Jean Baptiste said.
As seniors have lost half of their junior year due to COVID-19 and now their senior year, they are now deal with facing online school instead of celebrating their last two years in high school.