Students around the country did not expect an abrupt end to this school year. The coronavirus pandemic forced schools to shut down for the rest of the school year and move classes online. The once filled school hallways were cleared immediately to prevent the highly contagious disease from spreading. The soon to be high school graduates were greatly affect after the shutdown. All senior activities, like prom and graduation, were canceled until further notice. Students like Elon Brown, a high school senior at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) were disappointed by this news.
“We’re really disappointed because we’re the first high school class in history who won’t have prom or graduation ceremony since it was created,” Brown said. Public schools made the decision to continue classes online for the rest of the semester. Social media outlets, like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are used for the students to stay connected with each other while under quarantine. Some students and their families plan “drive-bys” to celebrate birthdays or simply to see each other in person. Destiny Mitchell, a senior at Malverne High School, participated in a surprise drive-by for her friends’ birthday. “I miss my friends. We have a group chat and we help each other with work, we stay on task, we stay connected,” Mitchell said.“A couple of my friends’ birthdays actually passed and we had a surprise drive-by. It was good to see people in a safe way.”
Students are finding it hard to cope with not seeing their friends every day at school. The seniors are especially finding it hard to cope with not being able to say a proper farewell to their friends and teachers at school. Cameron Few, another senior from ChiArts, is used to being in
school from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
“One thing I miss about going to school is seeing my friends,” Few said. “I used to see my friends from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and I just miss that. All I can do now is pick up the phone and call and it’s like you just want to see them. Who don’t want to see the people they love every day?” ChiArts, like most high schools, will be holding a virtual graduation ceremony in June. However, the school plans to have an event in early August for the seniors to say goodbye to their classmates. It is unclear when the state will lift the quarantine, so schools are waiting for more information to plan how to proceed accordingly.
“I’m sure everyone has those days where they’re like ‘I don’t wanna be here,’” Brown said. “…but seeing those faces every day and hearing my teachers’ laugh, my friends laugh, walking through the hallways of the school, that’s what I’m gonna miss.