Opinion: Let Seniors Be Sad

Skaidra Pulley, Copy Editor

April 14th, 2020

On April 3rd, Superintendent Roger Macdonald announced what many expected but didn’t want to hear. California schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Now let me just say that so far, no one I love has been affected by the virus. I don’t know anyone who’s lost a relative, friend, or colleague. As someone with pretty severe asthma and grandparents whom I love, I get that it could be worse! I could be on a ventilator. They could be dead. But I’m here to say that just because it could be worse, and some people do have it worse, it doesn’t mean that stressing the little things is invalid!

Today I cried because I wanted an apple and cutting it reminded me of my job at a restaurant, which I miss very much. I’ve also cried because I saw a photo of the prom dress I was going to wear in my camera roll, got migraines from looking at my laptop screen for too long, and realized I spent my very last day of high school playing 2048 on my phone. 

It is yet to be confirmed that graduation is postponed or cancelled, but many expect it.
Fiona Murphy/Pepperbox

The senior class knows that social distancing is right, and that these cancelations are for the best. But it’s still a loss of the best semester of high school. For 13 years, we’ve gone to school looking forward to the day we walk across the stage. It was supposed to be at Redwood Bowl, it was supposed to be sunny, there was supposed to be a cheering crowd and parties and a sea of decorated grad caps. Call me selfish and spoiled if you want, but I believe that every single senior that made it this far deserves that perfect day, deserves that praise, and deserves to be proud of themselves. 

“It feels like the past 12 years of schooling were for nothing,” said senior Maya Mircetich. “The memories are great but there is no closure between this chapter and the next of our lives”.  

To many, senior prom, graduation, and other festivities mean more than just a chance to party and dress up. They are rites of passage.

“I am sad that everything I’ve worked so hard for is not going to happen,” said Six Rivers senior Angel Barker. “My family doesn’t get to see me walk, we don’t get the ‘magical’ senior prom experience, a senior trip, or Safe and Sober. All of it is gone”. 

Switching to online school has been tough on seniors, who were already battling senioritis in regular classes. Many teachers, overburdened with the sudden change to virtual teaching, have been loading up on the busy work, and for seniors it can feel like a waste of time. 

“I’m just upset because essentially every good part of school has been taken away and we are left with just the worst part of school which is the busy work,” said Caledonia Davey. “Especially in the AP classes where we’re now in the review section of the year, it just feels incredibly useless to be completing the review assignments, especially when we aren’t getting the discussion aspect of having our teachers in front of us and our classmates by our side”. 

Seniors are also grappling with sudden loss. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be returning to Arcata High, reuniting with friends, teachers, and faculty. For seniors, Friday the 13th may have been the last day that they’ll spend with people who surrounded them for the last four years. 

“I’m heartbroken I won’t get to say proper goodbyes,” said history and leadership teacher Jennifer Coriell. 

If this lockdown continues until late summer, seniors may not be able to reunite before scattering to colleges, study abroad programs, and full-time jobs. 

“I’m sad, I wish I had this time to be spending with friends before I leave,” said Zoey Clark.  “I really like not being home so this is tough for me and I’m excited to be able to leave freely again”. 

In the end, cancellations are for the best. The community knows this, the school knows this, and seniors know it. But knowing something and feeling something are two very different things. 

“It feels like after all our hard work we’re robbed of the most memorable parts of high school,” said Abigail Brodhag. 

“2020 was supposed to be our year,” said Angel Barker. 

“It’s really terrible,” said Morrgin Emmons. “I never imagined being here”.