The Class of COVID-21

Seniors reflect on impact COVID-19 has had on final year

Senior+Delaney+Dyer+poses+in+cap+and+gown+outside.+Dyer+has+been+involved+in+the+band+program+all+four+years+of+high+school%2C+playing+the+flute+and+piccolo.+

Photo by Andie San Luis

Senior Delaney Dyer poses in cap and gown outside. Dyer has been involved in the band program all four years of high school, playing the flute and piccolo.

While senior year for the Class of 2020 ended at spring break, senior year for the Class of 2021 never truly began and has been far from typical, filled with restrictions and cancelations. 

 

“We’ve been looking forward to doing classic senior traditions, and it’s almost like all of that has been taken away,” senior Sydney Stafford said. “Your senior year is supposed to be about soaking everything in, [but everything] has been completely different from what we were all expecting.”

 

Throughout high school, students are told how senior year is going to be the highlight of their high school career. As the end of the school year approaches, students are left feeling incomplete after senior year did not live up to expectations. 

 

“I feel like we haven’t had a chance to accept the fact that we’re leaving,” Stafford said. “It’s supposed to feel nostalgic, but it’s not. Everyone looks back at [senior year] as their best year of their high school career, [and] I feel like a lot of us won’t be able to say that.”

 

Despite being back at school, the COVID-19 restrictions and precautions have taken away the typical normality of a school year, which has made a large difference for seniors. 

 

“I don’t get to eat lunch with my friends,” senior Delaney Dyer said. “I don’t get to walk to class with anyone. As a virtual student, [I] don’t talk to kids in [my] classes. For someone like me who is on the more introverted side of things, it’s harder to reach out [to] my friends than it would be normally when I see them everyday.”

 

Seniors are also struggling as many of their friends did not come back to campus this year, opting for virtual classes, which has left many without their typical support groups at school.

 

“It’s hard when everyone isn’t here,” Student Council sponsor Jennifer Russell said. “I feel awful because our seniors have been in limbo for so long with everything, and continue to be. This year, the energy has been down and with events liable to be canceled at any moment, it’s hard to get excited about anything.”

 

Seniors, specifically those involved in Ruckus and Rowdy, struggle with losing out on participating in the student section at sporting events, especially at football games.

 

“All of these seniors, myself included, have been waiting all four years to be able to lead the chants and be the spirited seniors,” Stafford said. “I think we were waiting for that moment to be the spirit of Hebron High School, and it got taken away.”

 

An important aspect of being a senior is to experience events that are meant to honor the students, such as making a special senior homecoming mum or the famous senior Ruckus and Rowdy jeans. Although some traditions can still be done, the socialization aspects that make the traditions fun for many have been significantly altered. 

 

“We’re pretty much the only generation of kids that won’t get that [experience] at all ” Dyer said. “We expected [this] for last year’s seniors because everything ended before graduation for them, but we didn’t anticipate doing this the entire year. We started with the mindset that maybe things would get better, and it’s just been constantly ongoing and even getting worse now.” 

 

Although seniors are missing out on memorable experiences, Dyer said she is trying to stay positive and savor the events they still get to do this year. 

 

“Even though I’m disappointed about things I missed out on, there were a lot of good things that happened,” Dyer said. “I’m proud of myself for making the most of what I can so far, and I think that’s what I’ll remember this year so far.”