By Kaya Amin, Kavina Amin, and Natalia Potrapeluk
For many high school seniors across Long Island and all over the country, our final year of high school was unexpectedly cut short due to a coronavirus pandemic.
At first, many of us felt this one-week “break” from school was needed. It was the perfect cure for our worsening senioritis and some time to relax at home. However, as weeks turned into months, we all felt a new discomfort and uncertainty about the rest of our senior year.
Just as school was getting exciting and there was so much to look forward to, we were forced to put our year on pause. Senior sports seasons, college commitments, and our final Showdown week were all taken away.
As this pandemic worsened, we were forced to undertake remote learning, while missing the most memorable parts of the high school experience. We weren’t able to see our friends, interact with our teachers, or enjoy almost half of our senior year at The Wheatley School.
Special occasions like birthdays were forced to be celebrated via zoom and without so many of our loved ones.
Even though health and safety are extremely important during this time, we can’t help but feel that we are missing out on things that are important to us. Many of us now wish that school can reopen at least for a short period of time so we can celebrate our prom and graduation together, as these are significant rites of passage.
As many of us heard about college decisions over the past month, we hoped we could celebrate this unforgettable occasion with our friends, teachers, and community.
During this unprecedented time, we hope we can come together and unite as a grade. While at home, we are making efforts to spread positivity and support each other.
As of now, no events are canceled, but our student government and administration is exploring a prom in July and online streamed graduation. In addition, the athletic director, Michael Scaturro, has decided to hold a virtual signing day for student-athletes committed to a college in sports.
As seniors, we appreciate the support we are receiving from parents, friends, teachers, and staff. The PTO generously gave each senior student a yard sign expressing their support and recognition.
Our principal, Dr. Feeney, shared videos from Wheatley staff which were so nice to see and brightened up our day. Even though we have extremely understanding teachers and faculty members, in the end, this isn’t something any of us have control over and still doesn’t change how hard this is.
We have gathered quotes from some current senior students at The Wheatley School:
“Being quarantined as a senior in high school has taught me a lot, starting off with the fact that no one should ever take any moment in life for granted. There were so many days we wished we could stay home from school and wished for there to be a snow day, but now I just wish to go back. I’ve tried being as productive as possible just to get my mind off all of the last senior year moments the class of 2020 is missing. I am praying that this all ends soon.”
“As much as we all complain about school, seeing friends and teachers are an important part of our life that we all miss, especially us seniors.”
“While it’s important everyone stays at home so our community can reopen sooner, I really wish I could see all my friends again at school. We have missed and will be missing a lot of traditions and I wish we didn’t have to be at home during this time that’s supposed to be about celebration and the next chapter in our lives.”
“Currently as a senior during quarantine, I feel upset that my senior year is being taken away from me by people who lack the care for others. Their decision to put their desires over others’ needs has led to our current situation of ever-growing cases of COVID-19. Furthermore, I miss seeing my friends and experiencing our senior year together whether it be for food runs or going for far out drives.
I’m currently missing our senior events like our last Showdown, the excitement of preparing for prom, graduation, and senior sunset. I also miss just hanging out with friends in school or skipping a few classes like a second semester senior would. In general, I miss our normal social lives.”
“Being quarantined as a senior really makes you appreciate all the good that high school had to offer. All the bad test grades, stressful times, exam filled days, and days that never seemed to end suddenly seem nonexistent.
“For seniors it is a different type of sad than other grades are feeling because for us there isn’t a next year. There’s no next sports season, no next set of classes with our favorite teachers, and no next showdown.
“After 12 years of hard work, the best three months were taken from us without warning, by a disease. I think at this point, we’re all upset about things like the senior party, prom, and yearbook signing, but what is especially concerning to me and most others is the thought of losing graduation.
“It is hard to imagine not having the opportunity to walk across that stage and receive a diploma. It is weird thinking about going to college without ever getting to finish high school. I do wish we knew it was the last day when we left on that Friday for some closure, but that’s all in the past now.
“There’s nothing to do but move forward. The future is pretty uncertain, but however cliche, we really are all in this together.”
“I knew high school wasn’t going to be like High School Musical but I really did not expect this. We started school together and we should be able to end school together as well.
In the beginning of senior year I would always say ‘wait until the end of the year, that’s when the fun will begin.’ I’m sorry to all the seniors out there.
“You all lost very special moments that you can only get in high school: prom, senior party, winning showdown (no offense but we had it in the bag), etc. The coronavirus has hurt us but it can’t take away the memories we already have.
“The advice I can give is to hold on to those moments that made you happy in school and graduate on a good note, even if it’s online.”