Senior Season Cancelled
With the end of the school year in sight, the class of 2020 has had an unprecedented last few months of high school. The coronavirus is at the center of this issue, having caused the country to shelter at home as school and all its activities are canceled for the time being, including graduation, prom, and other senior events being postponed indefinitely. “It’s pretty devastating because we’ve been looking forward to things like prom and graduation our whole lives,” senior Katy Anderson said, reflecting the feelings of the senior class.
The class of 2020 and those that are able to empathize with them feel as though they should have a chance at making these last few memories, with one of the bigger events being prom. “It’s one of the last opportunities to spend time with all of the people who have grown near and dear to your heart throughout high school,” Maine West class of 2019 graduate Anthony Ramos said, having had the opportunity to experience it himself. If circumstances allow, the class of 2020 may be able to have their prom during the last weekend of July.
Yet another thing that has been canceled for the class of 2020 is the traditional graduation ceremony, which will now be shared virtually this Saturday but may happen in-person in the stadium on Aug. 2. “We have spent four years working so hard to get a diploma and not having that ceremony at all would dampen the spirits of the class as a whole,” Anderson said. As of right now, District 207’s administration is still trying to figure out how to honor seniors later this year in a safe way, since it’s likely that the state will continue to ban large gatherings for the months ahead.
On Sunday, May 17 seniors will also be invited to parade past Maine West in cars. From 3:30-4:40 p.m., seniors can drive past the school, and staff and community members are planning to celebrate the class of 2020 by waving and cheering from the sidewalks.
Anderson points out how unprecedented and unexpected the current situation is and feels that Maine West has done the best job possible. “I don’t think anyone could’ve been able to prepare for this situation and that putting the blame on MW is unfair,” Anderson said. “Communicating with students and parents is really important right now and we need to be informed of what’s happening.”
The abrupt cancellation of in-person school and all sports and activities greatly affected students’ plans for the end of the year, and it has others sympathizing for seniors who had these events taken away from them. “For the seniors who had a spring activity that got canceled, I feel really bad for them not being able to show off the results of the work that they’ve put in. What you do in high school doesn’t always carry over to college, and they might have just lost their last opportunity at whatever they’re now missing out on,” Ramos said.
The school closure happened at the worst moment for one Maine West activity, ruining a year’s worth of work. “I was so excited about the West Side Dance Company show, all activities got cancelled the day of the show,” Anderson said. “It really broke my heart because we were so close to putting all of our hard work on display and we spent all year working to put together the show.”
With the past four years of high school coming to an end for the seniors at Maine West, it’s important to note that “even though students won’t be able to get in front of a crowd who would enjoy what they’ve been preparing to do, they should still applaud themselves and whoever was a part of that journey with them for their tireless efforts,” Ramos said.
But even with that said, it’s hard not to be disappointed when what was thought to certainly happen gets taken away unexpectedly within the last few months of the school year because of a virus. “I just wanted to be able to celebrate all those memories with the people that have become really close to me,” senior Alexis Mitchell said.
As the end of the year comes our way, graduates of the year 2020 had wanted to be able to say one last thing to each other before going off in separate directions to pursue their futures, but that seems to be out of reach. “I really wanted the chance to say goodbye to all my friends and teachers and really to say goodbye to Maine West itself before going to college,” Anderson said.