High school is the highlight of many teens’ lives. It’s a time where we create and discover for ourselves as adolescents. Senior year is the year full of excitement and anticipation as much packed in that year is full of lasts, causing us to cherish it so much more.
Unfortunately, the pandemic that stole the last semester of the class of 2020, downed the hopes for the Class of 2021. Avery Martinez, senior class Publicity Chair shared that entering senior year she was looking forward to “having fun with friends and to enjoy all of our last/first senior activities together.” Charlene Cosim, the senior class Treasurer said, “I feel like there’s so many things we took for granted like jamboree, the experience, the excitement, school spirit and of course homecoming. Although at times it was stressful with the planning, there’s so many memories we missed out on this year. I think it just really impacts us as seniors the most because now since we are seniors there’s no more “next year” only ‘last year.’”
Starting senior year facing a computer screen and a lack of social activities was not part of the plan, so many seniors created an alternative year for themselves. Some have been taking advantage of the new schedule. Issandro Arias said, “An upside to online school is that it ends early, so this spare time actually gives me the opportunity to hang out with my friends. When you’re making plans with them around class, it makes up for the time you would’ve been spending with them at school.”
Others have been using their free time to pursue productivity. Christian Zuniga said, “I had a lot of time on my hands and wanted to make money of my own so I started to work at McDonald’s… this then opened more opportunities for me as I started to drive and I also had extra money to go out with friends.”
Online school also has its downsides, from the lack of interaction with classmates, to simply, how it has allowed us to be lazy. Alondra Rogriguez said,” Social interaction is something that is beneficial to not only to make school more pleasant, but also getting to ask classmates questions when I need help.” School has definitely made students much more independent. Instead of having the reminder of a bell to get going to class, students now rely on better time management to have your chromebook open on time for class. Rodriguez said she is now able to branch off and “learn the criteria at a more lenient pace.” Obed Cruz feels, “My schedule is definitely becoming more of my own, due to “our divided semesters”. This is also allowing students’ stress of classes to decrease as we are only taking three classes a time rather than six.
With the month of October, the Spooky Season not only brings a high for the holidays, but also for college applications. It is a fairly anticipated time for seniors as this is a starting point for their next step after graduation. Omar Cerna said, “It is a nervous time as this will determine my future.”
Michelle Frankel, a senior English teacher said, “Learning that this year would be taught virtually, I was sad…more important than the senior English curriculum is making sure that each student has what they need for life after high school.” With this determination, Frankel has continued the school year, “with growing connections, even without the in person contact. She hopes for students to, “know what they are going to do the day, week, and year after they graduate, whether it’s college or not, so that their anxiety and fear are minimal.”
Nerves are always a good sign of moving forward because they are just a symptom of change. Of course, this year is full of change but the helping staff at Alisal during this process continued to keep it steady. Atanacia Mares, head of the Career Center, explains, “Technology has helped all information to be shared throughout classes and to the students.” All that comes with the season of college has stayed on schedule but instead is now all online. Resources are continuously being circulated, Mares says, “You must take full advantage of your resources”, as the team at the career center have been active with seniors encouraging them to grasp the lending hands.
Senior athletes enter their final year wanting to finish with a bang. However, the pandemic altered their goals they had set for their season. Mikaela Arista, a three-sport athlete said, “Not getting to play sports for me is absolutely devastating.” Sports have been postponed until January at this point, cramming all seasons into a four to five-month period. Arista said, “The biggest weight that I will forever have with me is the unfinished business that I had in all of my sports… win a tennis championship… another basketball championship… and break the last individual swimming record that I do not hold and was racing against.” Vivianna Reyes who has been playing volleyball all throughout her high school career said, “Last year I suffered a knee injury and didn’t get to finish my season, for senior year I was hoping to get back into it and have a full final season.”
Many athletes share the loss of time on their field, but hopes are kept afloat as schedules of sports continuation have been posted. Reyes shares, “Our season may not be the same, but I still am grateful for whatever playing time I will receive to play with my team one last season.”.
The staff of Alisal has organized alternative activities to spread optimism to the student body. Jennifer Bunden, the activities director, said, “Our spirit week was a team effort, the student council carried the spirit all through our social media accounts. The officers are incredible with spreading information on their Instagrams helping out ASB.” Although it is hard to plan on hypotheticals, working around the pandemic timeline, she explains spring semester will “be more senior-focused”, and include a “super busy schedule to make the best of their year”. “Doing this..” she continues, “seniors will remember how it feels to not have these school events, so it will come back with momentum.”
Senior pride always outshines any other class as they have much to celebrate and even more to cherish during the year. Every senior should make their final year a year of their own, taking all opportunities open to them and creating from them. Not only will this contribute to your personal achievements, but also to your class as a whole. Realistically, we won’t have the same experience compared to other years, but remaining on the optimistic side, any plans that can be made possible should be grasped with gratitude and taken advantage of.