I’m not a very social person and I’ve always struggled to find my place in high school. It has been difficult for me to make friends with people in my grade, but somehow, I’ve managed to make a few in the Class of 2020. I’ve spent the majority of high school seeing them as my “sisters” and role-models; and knowing that their time in high school was drawing to a close was both exciting and terrifying to me. The close-knit family that I’ve relied on these past three years was being threatened by a timer— counting down to their last few hours in high school.
At first, we were all on the edge of our seats, fearing that graduation wouldn’t happen. But luckily, the school announced that our graduation would still happen. I was so excited that we were granted permission for the celebration, but I was completely unaware of the fact that I would be unable to attend because of the audience quota.
I just watched my sisters graduate through a screen and I couldn’t be there to congratulate them in person. June 2, 2020 was the day that I’ve been looking forward to all year long just to watch my friends, who had dedicated limitless hours of their time to studying and service, receive their diplomas. But as I watched them, each sitting a meter apart with their faces covered in masks, through a bleak computer screen, I was reminded of just how much of their senior year had been robbed from them.
Their second semester of their senior year was supposed to be full of fun, celebration and togetherness. And yet, they spent the majority of it staring at computer screens or on FaceTime calls instead. Annual traditions that the school runs just for seniors, like prom, senior week, senior trip, have all been cancelled.
I know that I shouldn’t be the one complaining. At least I have one last year to end my high school career. But I can’t help but be frustrated for myself, my friends, their families, and all of the seniors across the world. This pandemic has truly stolen a momentous portion of high school, replacing it with the bleakness of a computer screen and social distancing.
However, what has been the most inspiring, despite everything that they’ve been robbed of, is the lengths to which every student in the Class of 2020 has supported each other. Even while watching them graduate through my computer screen, it was amazing that they were all happy and smiling, despite their faces being covered in masks. Every one of those students are truly inspiring; they are a symbol of hope within the darkness. In spite of everything that has been so mercilessly stolen from them this year, their smiling faces and camaraderie is extraordinary.
Written by: Alina Fowler