For high school seniors, coronavirus brings a sad ending

Published 2:11 pm Friday, April 24, 2020

Seniors were tantalizing close to the end of their high school careers when the coronavirus struck, closing schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Never would they have thought that their senior year would have ended like this.
Instead of cruising the halls with friends, attending prom, starring in one final performance, or playing in one last game, seniors are now stuck at home.
As most parents will tell you, the school years come and go fast. In the blink of an eye, our children grow into adults, going through time-honored rites of passages that mark their maturation.
But what happens when the rites of passages get canceled. That is what has happened for seniors all across this country — not just here in Elizabethton and Carter County.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused high school spring sports academic awards programs, proms and graduations to be postponed — and in most cases canceled.
Seniors were very close to the end of their studies when classes were abruptly cancelled in March. Most will attest that the last several weeks of school, for seniors, are usually the most fun. Seniors are giddy with expectations for the future, and that energy builds up anticipation for events at the end of the academic calendar.
Schools in some parts of the country are turning to drive-thru graduations and virtual proms. While these won’t be the same as the real thing, the thought and effort are appreciated.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flinging your graduation cap into the air, in concert with a couple dozen or a couple hundred classmates, and then turning to hug friend after friend after friend at commencement.
The seniors of 2020 won’t get to experience that.
And for an athlete who has put in thousands of hours on the ball diamond, in the gymnasium, or running track, there’s nothing quite like competing as a senior, when you have nothing to lose and your body is finally catching up with your aspirations.
The seniors of 2020 won’t get to experience that.
And is there anything that rivals dressing to the nines and dancing the night away, getting really crazy, at senior prom?
The seniors of 2020 won’t get to experience that, either.
For most students, it’s a spring break that will roll into summer vacation. For seniors, though, it means that they will not be able to return to the halls they’ve walked through hundreds of times, or have one last lunch with friends in the cafeteria.
Unlike the many annual events and festivals across the region that have been affected, graduation ceremonies can’t be rescheduled as easily — the ceremony is usually the last time a graduating class gets to be under the same roof before departing for college.
The reality of ending high school without final goodbyes has left some of the class of 2020 heartbroken. They feel robbed.
But their families and friends and communities will think of ways to make the end of this senior year special.
And nothing — not even a pandemic — can take away the knowledge, life lessons, fun and lifetime memories that the Class of 2020 will take with them as they head off to college or into the work world.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox