To say I had been looking forward to my senior year would be an understatement. It’s the year I’d been anticipating since beginning high school. And suddenly, it was here. The year of many lasts: last first day of school, the last of the Friday night football games, last homecoming, last prom. I was excited to make more memories with my friends, knowing it would be our final year together.
I have not been disappointed. My senior year has been nothing short of amazing, to say the least. The people I have surrounded myself with have made it by far the most memorable. My class is a tight-knit group who have had a special bond since kindergarten.
None of us thought that our last day of high school would be on March 13. Just one week before, my friends and I were looking forward to our senior trip to New York, spring break and shopping for prom dresses. And then suddenly, we were told that our school district was closing for three weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That entire day had been so strange, and I went home feeling a bit worried about the rest of my senior year. It all seemed so surreal, as if I were living in another world. I don’t think anyone thought the virus would reach these extremes.
For me, the reality hit on Wednesday, March 18, when our FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) state conference was canceled. I had been looking forward to this week since I was elected as a state officer, and actually, even before that. I had always dreamed of being on that big stage alongside my fellow officers, leading the best organization. This year was the 75th anniversary, which made it even more special.
It just felt like everything we had worked toward was for nothing. I know it wasn’t, but still. Not in a million years would I have thought something like this would happen, and of course, it had to happen this year.
After I cried several times that day, I thought I was okay, but I wasn’t. Every time it came to mind, the tears started rolling.
That’s when I realized we might not go back to school. I might not be able to see my friends, not watch spring sports, not practice and compete in my final year of gymnastics and not have a prom or graduation. I would not be able to do everything we had worked for the last 12 years.
My senior year was dead and I thought my life was over, too. It was like going through the stages of grief. I was in denial. Life didn’t make sense and I was in complete shock. I would be spending the rest of my senior year in quarantine.
I was mad. Angry. Devastated. I didn’t know how to react. My senior year was robbed. I would’ve done anything to get my senior year back and for everything to go back to normal. The more I thought about everything I was missing, the worse I felt.
But after a while, I was tired and annoyed with myself for acting this way. I felt selfish for only thinking of myself and my senior year. I realized I couldn’t change the situation. To make the most of the situation, I made a list of activities to keep me occupied. I’ve picked up several hobbies for which I normally would not have time. I began journaling, and I practice yoga and exercise every day to keep myself busy. These new hobbies have made me feel better.
Over time, I have come to terms with this “new normal.” Though I haven’t been able to see my friends in person, I have talked to them every day by texting, Snapchatting, FaceTiming, and Zooming. I’ve Zoomed with my student council group almost every day, and we have continued to boost morale by hosting virtual spirit days, recognizing other students and encouraging each other. It’s been nice to see their faces.
This is our district’s first time with NTI (the Non-Traditional Instruction Program), and I feel it is going well. Our staff is doing a phenomenal job by checking in on us daily. I have felt the love and support throughout my entire community.
And then suddenly … it is almost May, and my senior year is nearly over. The class of 2020 is living through history. During this time, I have been able to reminisce over the past years and all the great memories I created. Instead of dwelling on the situation, I decided to make the most of it and have a positive mindset. I have learned to cherish every single moment and enjoy the little things in life.
Because of this, I am even more grateful for all that I have; my health, my family and my friends. Although the rest of my senior year has been canceled, love has not, family has not, kindness has not and togetherness has not. Though it’s not how I imagined spending the end of my high school career, it is definitely a year I will never forget.
Sarah Davenport is a senior who attends Fleming County High School. She is a member of the 2019-2020 Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council, a group that provides input to the Kentucky commissioner of education. Davenport will be attending Eastern Kentucky University in the fall of 2020; her major is undecided.
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