Bain Hanif (Unsplash.com)
This is The Mav’s last editorial of the 2020-2021 school year. Editorials are articles written by a publication’s editors to express a shared opinion or discuss a topic editors think needs more attention. These articles are meant to persuade readers and to promote critical thinking while sometimes encouraging people to take action.
The Senior Class of 2021 was robbed of the events and senior traditions that make this year special for us. We have not been able to do most of the things seniors look forward to: prom, sports games, concerts, assemblies, time with our teachers, walking through the hallways of our middle schools, and other celebrations.
We’ve been looking forward to these events for much of our lives. We’ve heard the stories of our siblings, friends, and parents when they nostalgically recall the shenanigans of their senior year.
And we’ve missed it all.
For example, some of us have never been to a prom, and all of us didn’t get a senior homecoming. We didn’t get to compete in a regular sports season or create the fall play production. Clubs have hardly, if at all, been able to meet. Teams and groups of friends haven’t even been able to meet for dinner after a big day or event.
We were genuinely excited to go to senior assemblies, senior nights, senior trips, and college visits; watch the senior countdown clock; wear our class shirts; participate in senior ditch day; and experience our last day of school. Though some of those things may still happen, they will not be the same as any other year.
We have spent most of this year learning virtually, in a hybrid model, or quarantined. We rarely see the people that we used to see every day. Because of COVID restrictions, we don’t pass all our friends in the hallway or hang out with them during passing periods or even see them during lunch.
The whole social part of our senior year doesn’t really exist and hasn’t existed since last March.
The seniors were people we looked up to. Their mannerisms and privileges were praised by our friends and most of the school staff. We all looked forward to being able to simply call ourselves “seniors” and do what they had always done. We wanted to lead the Rowdy Crowd in the football stands. We wanted to vote for prom royalty. We wanted to be seniors.
Everything that we’ve looked forward to as seniors no longer exists, and we will never get to experience it. We feel stuck behind our laptops and iPads. We have to wear a mask all day and remain six feet away from anyone we know.
While last year’s seniors missed out on many of the end-of-the-year events, they were highly celebrated and comforted by our community.
Graduating seniors in 2020 at least had 75 percent of a normal year. When the pandemic began to worsen, community members rallied behind them. It seems the community was driven and energized by the concern they felt for seniors. Who wouldn’t feel that way?
Celebrities made special graduation videos. Strangers “adopted” seniors to provide graduation gifts. Car parades became popularized. The community found ways to make seniors feel special.
But we feel we have been forgotten in the middle of what has become a pendulum of apathy, polarization, fear, and discontentment. It goes back and forth, back and forth.
Everyone is tired. Tired of the news of deaths, tired of putting a mask on every time we leave our homes, tired of being separated from those we care about. And that exhaustion carried over to the class of 2021. It’s almost as if the sheer amount of energy put into making 2020 seniors feel special is too exhausting to repeat for those who “don’t have it as bad” as they did.
Last year, it seemed a moral imperative to support the graduating class because something was ripped away from them unexpectedly; we, however, have had it ripped away in bits and pieces over a longer period of time. The same energy that was given to last year’s seniors has not been allotted to us.
We understand that our school has put a lot of effort into making this year the best it can be. These circumstances are out of their control. Many events are being recreated and structured differently to ensure safety protocols are followed.
We are simply expressing our loss. This loss is unique to us, the Class of 2021.
We don’t feel special as seniors. We feel like it’s just any other year in high school, and in two months, it’ll just be done — nothing special.
So, what about us?