Seniors gathered at dawn on April 15th to watch the sunrise together and celebrate the end of four years at Long Reach.
Senior year is a pivotal moment in every student’s life, but this experience has been compromised due to safety measures enforced by the county to curb the spread of COVID-19.
To many, the loss of a senior year is devastating. Class president Payton Holmes explains, “Losing my senior year has taken a toll on my motivation. Your senior year is supposed to be the best one because you get all of the fun, planned activities such as prom and the senior cruise.”
Senior Josh Drasin comments, “Losing the senior experience is kind of like a record player stopping mid-song and there being silence for the rest of it.”
Despite the circumstances, class council has been working hard to mirror the senior year experience as best as they can.
According to Holmes, class council now holds weekly meetings for executive board members to update one another on different activities that they are in the process of planning. Paige Ditter, the other class president, stresses the importance of details when planning these events.
The pandemic has created a new set of challenges that require unique solutions. All events for seniors must be adjusted to be held outside and socially distanced in order to be as safe as possible.
Ditter explains, “We’ve tried to make [the events] as inclusive as possible both for those comfortable being around others and those who aren’t.”
Even though the senior sunrise did not include an actual sunrise due to cloud cover, the event was meaningful nonetheless. Holmes comments, “I was very excited to see my friends at the sunrise. I know we aren’t necessarily going to be able to hug and talk in groups like we usually would, but even seeing them from a distance is going to make a big difference because we all need that social interaction we get from school.”
Ditter agrees, stating, “I’m most excited about seeing our class doing things as a class again. Most of us aren’t going to school in person, so being able to get as many people together as possible and finally celebrate an important step in our lives is really exciting.”
Senior Skylar Kohler “enjoyed the senior sunrise and seeing people who [she] would normally only see at school.”
Drasin says, “I really appreciate the class advisors and class council for putting this on. However, I do really wish that we were allowed to stay longer.”
Although one senior event won’t replace a year’s worth of activities, class council is working hard to plan a senior sunset closer to the last days of school and a senior fun night after the award ceremony towards the end of May.
The resilience and strength of Long Reach students, especially the seniors, is evident. According to Ditter, the pandemic “made [her] appreciate the little moments and memories a lot more. You don’t realize how many small things you miss out on until you actively don’t get them. [The pandemic] has helped us live in the moment and take every opportunity to make memories.”
Holmes has the same takeaway as Ditter: live in the moment and don’t get distracted by things that aren’t important.
Kohler, on the other hand, used the pandemic as an opportunity to focus more on herself, school, and college preparation.
No matter how the seniors have coped with this drastic change, Holmes promises, “[Class council] is going to try our best to be able to make these last couple months of our senior year the best we are able to.”
In the wise words of Principal Wasilewski, “I wish your senior year was better, but you guys are the best. For real.”