Seniors share about their final year in a pandemic

May 18, 2021

The Class of 2021 has not enjoyed the traditional final-year-of-high school experience that almost all other graduating classes experience.

There was no Spirit Week or Homecoming football game. There were no pep rallies or gymnasiums filled with classmates dancing to the beat of the drumline. In many ways, the seniors have been grieving the loss of experiences they had been looking forward to since they first walked in the doors as freshmen.

The Eagle’s Eye collected the responses of this year’s senior class from an online survey distributed in late April and early May. We asked them about what their school year has been like, what they imagined their senior year would be like before the pandemic, and what events they looked forward to experiencing. We also asked them about ways they have found to celebrate this year despite the pandemic.

Skyler Melder

My senior experience was a total roller coaster! From being slammed with work, preparing for performances over zoom, a snowpocalypse, and preparing for college. All in all though I feel like I had the best senior year I could given the circumstances.

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I was really excited to do the musical, senior breakfast, and senior week. Thankfully we actually get a prom and graduation though and those are the two biggest things I’ve been looking forward to.”

— Skyler Melder, Senior

What did you imagine your Senior year would be like?

Very different than what it was. I thought I was going to get to hang out with my friends, have homecoming and decorate my overalls, get to be at the school and have all the senior-related events.

What were you looking forward to?

I was really excited to do the musical, senior breakfast, and senior week. Thankfully we actually get a prom and graduation though and those are the two biggest things I’ve been looking forward to.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

A little by taking senior pictures and just having my family recognize me and stuff.

Navas McKenzie Robinson

It’s been really stressful because this is all of our first time having a full year of school online.

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I thought it would’ve been fun going to the pep rallies and homecoming games.”

— Navas McKenzie Robinson, Senior

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

I thought it was going to be spent at school just like everyone else did but most importantly I thought I was going to spend more time with friends.

What were you looking forward to?

I thought it would’ve been fun going to the pep rallies and homecoming games.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

Yes and no. I thought about some ways I could celebrate with both family and friends but for safety reasons, I changed my mind.

Brianna Bucio

It has been one heck of a year. It was stressful but also sad because I wanted my senior year to be special and memorable.

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

It would’ve been so perfect and fun. My class and I would’ve done the most to make it memorable. We were waiting for this year for so long so we were going to make the best of it. 

What were you looking forward to?

Student council, track, or just stay after school to study with friends.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

I did honestly. As embarrassing as it sounds, I practiced my entrance and walk across the stage. I envisioned myself being in that moment. I also planned a senior get-together to get all my close senior friends as well as others to want to join so we can all experience something together.

Maydelid Vazquez

This year has sucked. No other words.

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

FUN. I’ve been waiting 12 years for this year and I had no special treatment, no superiority complexes, and no fun spirit weeks.

What were you looking forward to?

Senior breakfast, homecoming, senior trips, celebrating college acceptances.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

I smile from the confetti I get when I turn in an assignment on BLEND.

Sami Kunaish

Though it has been a struggle to keep up with this strange year I have tried my best to keep my head up and continue on with my Akins Pride as a senior.

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I imagined my senior year would be very emotional with me having fun with my high school friends for, what could be the last time and then saying goodbye to them and Akins.”

— Sami Kunaish, Senior

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

I imagined my senior year would be very emotional with me having fun with my high school friends for, what could be the last time and then saying goodbye to them and Akins.

What were you looking forward to?

I was looking forward to doing the labs in Mr. Tucker’s OnRamps Chemistry class.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

Small gatherings with my friends and visiting the outside of campus for the memories when I can.

Iris Scarborough

The experience of being a senior is great but the pandemic itself is very draining. I would like to say we have all learned a lot this year about reality and priorities and learning how to deal with losses and grief. I believe this year has strengthened a lot of people, but for some people this may not have been the case. As we young adults move through this pandemic with any guidance we can, we try to focus and get things done when everything around us and surrounding us is changing and we are still in the process of learning how to navigate through this world.

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

I imagined Senior year would have been much more of making fun and new memories with family and friends, going to more school-related activities, and just being more socially interactive, and overall getting the work done while still enjoying our last year as young adults before everything changes.

What were you looking forward to?

I was looking forward to HOCO, the Pep Rallies and the Senior Breakfast. I am still looking forward to Prom.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

I have hung out with my friends a few times but I am mostly looking for ways to stay positive.

Leeloo Diaz

My senior experience during a pandemic sucked. My mom tells me that your teenage years are the best years of your life. Your golden days. Well, no not really. So much stuff happened my senior year that I will carry on for the rest of my life.

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Before the pandemic hit, I really thought my senior year would be like Grease and High School Musical where I would go out every other Friday night with some friends and make memories to look back at.”

— LeeLoo Diaz, Senior

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

Before the pandemic hit, I really thought my senior year would be like Grease and High School Musical where I would go out every other Friday night with some friends and make memories to look back at.

What were you looking forward to?

I was looking forward to going out for lunch with friends, getting my driver’s license and driving to school, and prom.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

No, I haven’t really done anything to celebrate my senior year so far other than sibling visiting me.

 

Liam Byrom

My experience during senior year has been stressful to say the least. It is a strange dichotomy of having hope for it all to end and being hopeless that it never will. Not only have I lost the once in a lifetime opportunity that is given to every senior to celebrate 12 hard years of school, but I have also lost many personal things such as my girlfriend, friends, and social life. I can only hope that no one will ever experience such things as we have this year.

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

A wonderous, once in a lifetime experience with not only my girlfriend but also all of my friends and social life. My time would have been filled with applications to college and further advancing my life.

What were you looking forward to?

All of the major ones that are apparent to seniors such as prom, graduation, personal applications to college, the classes allowed to only those in their senior year, free time, car rides to eat lunch out, and many other things.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

I am afraid to say that I have found no ways to celebrate my senior year so far. Many of the things that schools permit for celebration of senior year have been suspended and the things that haven’t been suspended have become obsolete from the alternate effects of this disease. I haven’t been able to speak much with my friends, my girlfriend left. My free time has been consumed with studying the work that isn’t or can’t be taught over zoom, and applications to college have become not only overwhelming political but also immensely impersonal.

Liz Abad Cruz

Interesting. Although I didn’t experience all the fun, I did have some amazing times in my classes. I laughed, cried, got angry. It was unusual but at the same time it felt normal.

What did you imagine your senior year would be like?

I just thought my senior year was going to be in person.

What were you looking forward to? Mainly prom and senior breakfast. I think those two events are the ones that are the most eyeopening and makes us realize that this chapter of our lives is coming to an end.

Have you found ways to celebrate?

I celebrate myself whenever I feel proud of myself. Online work can be frustrating so I’m proud of everyone for their hard work.

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