The coronavirus pandemic has affected the world in every aspect of life imaginable — from deaths, to stock market lows, to loss of income and jobs, to self-quarantines and cancellations of sports from professional to Little League.
That especially rings true in the world of high school seniors who are not only dealing with the crisis all around them, but also with the possibility and reality of not being able to walk across the stage or attend their senior proms in the next few weeks.
The class of 2020 may feel as though a dark cloud is hanging over it, as most were born the year of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and were first-graders during Hurricane Ike.
Most Galveston County high school seniors were on spring break when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic on March 11. When school administrators across the county, state and nation began canceling classes in record numbers at the advice of health authorities, many probably thought things would get back to normal pretty quickly.
One week turned into two. Then three.
In addition to discussions about when to allow students to go back to schools safely and scrambling to get teachers the tools necessary to teach via online assignments to keep them busy until then, administrators also are dreading making the hard decisions about prom and graduation ceremonies, which are fast approaching.
Operators of some venues already have told administrators their facilities won’t be open for proms because of the virus. At this point, most young women already have purchased their dresses. How disappointing. Yes, we know that there are more pressing issues at hand in regard to this pandemic, but our hearts are breaking for these students in particular because, hey, it’s senior year.
For those of you reading this today, if you’ll be honest with yourself, senior year was some of the best times of your lives. You were giddy with excitement at the thought of walking across the stage to receive your diploma with family and friends in the stands cheering you on. You looked forward to prom with your high school sweetheart, friends, and of course the glitz and glamour that goes with it. You looked forward to Senior Skip Day, the senior picnic, graduation parties and just creating memories of your K-12 educational journey.
You worked so hard by passing all the necessary courses to get you to that point. You worked tirelessly in the gym to become an athlete on the field or court and worked even harder in the classroom to get accepted into college. You forged relationships with other students who went on this journey with you for 12 years.
But now, it may not happen for the class of 2020.
They’ve now been tasked with finishing up coursework at home on their computers and still don’t know what the future holds as it relates to celebrations they’ve been waiting for their entire lives.
This isn’t only affecting the students, but parents and guardians too, as we’re sure they’ve been preparing and waiting for this day to come as well.
We don’t know what the future holds during this unprecedented time in our lives. But, today, we just want to congratulate the class of 2020 and let its members know that this too shall pass, and that the way you all respond to this crisis during a time that’s supposed to be the best times of your lives will show future generations how to overcome and persevere.
• Angela Wilson