On Sunday Mar. 15th, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that schools would be closing the week before spring break as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19. Later, the return date was pushed back further, to April 20th. Now senior students await further information on the outcome of their senior year.
“ Like most students in school, when you find out you get to stay home from school, it’s exciting at first, but then when I started to process what was causing the extended break, the virus, it was alarming and didn’t feel like an extra spring break anymore, it was a safety precaution. When the date was extended to April, that’s when I started to realize the severity of the Corona virus,” senior, Sophie Alaniz said.
Different students have been handling the news differently and finding their own ways to cope with the new circumstances surrounding the conclusion of their senior year.
“i’m trying to prepare myself with the fact that we may never go back. It’s been really hard knowing that I already had my last day of high school without knowing it,” senior, Chandler Cartwright said. “I’ve honestly just been turning to the Lord for guidance and peace in this situation.”
During this time of unknowns, students are finding ways to stay connected to those important to them.
“Things that I’m doing to stay connected is the occasional zoom meeting with a class or two. But how I really connect with my friends is on discord where we can talk and play games,” senior Diego Diaz said.
Some students are truly beginning to feel the loss of their senior year as they realize the possibility that they may have done many things for the last time.
“ I won’t be able to say goodbye to my past teachers and there are some people I may never see again. My last prom I will ever get, is probably gone, not happening. I hope that we still hold a graduation, even if it’s months after it was supposed to be. every senior deserves that opportunity to feel accomplished,” Cartwright said. “I was robbed of my last day of school. I walked out the door without realizing I would never get to go back as a student.”
The theme of devastation is seen throughout a number of students.
“There are lots of unknowns during this time but that of graduation and prom seems to carry a heavy meaning,” Diaz said. “It should be one of the most memorable moments of our lives but the thought of just not having prom or having graduation in an alternative form will never be the same and will have different effects on everyone. I would be devastated if these came true.”
Others however mourn their losses of senior year, but also take focus on those that have problems much bigger than their own.
“There is no doubt that I am disappointed about the possibility of not returning to school because it’s senior year, the last year of high school I’ll get to experience. But it’s in those moments of disappointment when I remember that I am not the only person experiencing loss,” Alaniz said. “When I stop and take a minute, I realize that my loss of not having a typical senior experience is so small when I look at all the people who are suffering with job loss, income reduction, and the worst of all, loss of loved ones.”
Instead of focusing purely on the negatives, Cartwright has also used this time as a reflection over her high school years.
“I would just like to say I’m so thankful for the memories I did make this year and the past three years at Harber High,” Cartwright said. “I appreciate all the hard work principals and staff members are putting into making sure that we can hopefully still have a graduation and possibly prom. Even if it’s delayed.”