Ever since we’ve started social distancing for the coronavirus and school has been on hold (now, officially closed), I have thought a lot about all of you. Senior year is a big deal, and having milestone events, such as senior prom, Baccalaureate Mass and the graduation commencement ceremony be canceled or different than what they are normally is heartbreaking.
I remember watching “High School Musical 3 – Senior Year” when it first came out and thinking how that could be me someday. Although the movie isn’t exactly how high school really is (for example, there’s not a lot of breaking out into song and dance at XHS), it made me excited for my senior year, coasting through classes at the end of the semester and cherishing moments with friends before going our separate ways. I am sorry, seniors, that these things have been taken from you. You had your last day of high school without knowing it was your last day and weren’t able to formally say goodbye to your teachers and classmates on this day.
I hope you all know that your feelings are valid and not just complaints. It’s okay to grieve. As a junior, I know if the virus happened a year later and the last quarter of my senior year was just gone, I would be upset too. It is devastating to hear of everything getting canceled or postponed. These moments come once in a lifetime, so your feelings of sadness are reasonable. But, have a hopefulness for what is yet to come and look forward to all the great things you’ll accomplish in the future as well like college, the workforce, getting married and starting a family, or discerning religious life.
Although this time of social distancing is for the greater good, in flattening the curve and in doing our part for hardworking, relentless healthcare professionals, that doesn’t mean your senior year isn’t important. It pains me to see some people talk down to you guys, saying, “It’s nothing,” or “You’ll still graduate, so what’s the big deal?” I have no doubt those types of people would be feeling differently if they were in your shoes.
So thank you seniors for being so cooperative, especially with the future being so uncertain. You have worked hard for four years and it’s okay to grieve the loss of the final moments of high school. Keep praying for an end to this pandemic and for those affected. I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I’ve made with many of you. We’re here for you.