Senior year. In the movies, it’s the best year of the characters’ high school experience. For the classes of 2020 and 2021, their last year of high school has been anything but the perfect experience.
In March of 2020, the pandemic hit and unexpectedly cut off the school year. The class of 2020’s final year of high school suddenly came to an end. Unfortunately, they missed out on prom, graduation, and saying goodbye to their classmates before going off to college.
The class of 2021 will miss out on these experiences too, but where is the support?
After school was canceled in March 2020, the surge of community support for the class of 2020 was inspiring. A graduation parade took place for the seniors and adopt-a-senior— a program where people could sign up to bring gifts to a senior— was prevalent on Facebook. The Shoreline community was sympathetic to the loss of their final year of high school. Although stuck at home, the seniors knew they were recognized and cared for by the people around them.
However, the pandemic persisted. A new school year began and the class of 2021 started their senior year. Our senior year has been drastically different because we have spent the whole year online and haven’t experienced nearly as much support.
As a senior, I feel that the class of 2021 hasn’t received as much sympathy as the class of 2020. Last year, the community seemed to rally support for the class of 2020 and their loss, but this year’s senior class has seen nothing. This lack of recognition has been devastating, especially since this year has been online and isolating.
At least the class of 2020 got part of their senior year. They had their last Homecoming dance, attended their final football game, and were able to have a typical first semester. The class of 2021 hasn’t been able to experience anything remotely normal during their senior year. We have completely missed out on everything a senior year has to offer. We didn’t have a last homecoming, get to experience a final game, or get to spend time with our friends and classmates in person.
The support that the seniors have received from the school has been minimal. The Shorewood Boosters are selling yard signs for the seniors this year, but parents have to pay for them. Last year, there was a surge of support for the seniors that was not monetized by the school. Showing support for students that have been devastated by the pandemic should not have a price.
Spending a whole year of school online has been difficult for everyone. All high school students have missed out on a full year of experience. However, with Washington schools returning in person by April 19, the other current high school classes will likely experience a more typical school year next year.
I am not trying to diminish the disappointment the class of 2020 felt. It’s devastating that they did not get to experience what the second semester of senior year has to offer. I empathize as a member of the class of 2021.
Everyone has struggled with their school year being cut short and not attending class as usual. Pandemic fatigue is real and has been experienced by many; perseverance is necessary, but the resilience and sacrifice of the class of 2021 should be recognized and celebrated, not neglected.