Senior year messed with by COVID-19


photo by Cheryl Wise

Some of the senior class poses for a picture after becoming powder puff champions. The group includes Nick Brooks, Shane Smith, Braeden Durbin, Trevor Wingard, Jacob Jones, Amber Coon, Larou De Jong, Moriah Renfro, Savannah Mendenhall, Tyler Schilz, Tommy Ozier, Korey Damery, Jake Rhodes, Steven Stoots, Zach Bowman, Aaron Scheumaker, Keely Kirby, Alex Martin, Jesse Damery, Peyton Latham, Taylor Pagel, Zoie Bowman, Claire Palmer and Hannah Reichert.

On March 13, it was announced that all high schools in Illinois would shut down due to the spread of COVID-19 until March 31, although that date was pushed back even further. This may not be a big deal to most people, however, for the Class of 2020 it is. With the pandemic having no signs of slowing down in the United States anytime soon, there is a chance that schools will be canceled for the rest of the year.

“When we were told that school would be canceled I was very upset. Being a senior this year, I had in my head a plan of what my senior year would look like and this is not it at all,” Heather Crackel said. “The worst part about all of this is the unknown. Will I get to experience my last soccer season, my last prom with all of my friends, and most importantly walking at graduation with my friends.” 

This past week, the return to school date was pushed back even further to April 8. However, some seniors are still holding out hope for the completion of their senior year at school.

“I mean I am a little sad my senior year is messed up,” Amber Coon said. “But I will be fine if we still get a prom and graduation.”

The first softball game was supposed to be on March 21 but has been postponed to a later date.

“It makes me really sad to think that I could have already put on my jersey and played my last high school game without even knowing it,” Jesse Damery, a softball player and one of the valedictorians said. “Big things were expected this season and now we might not even have the chance to accomplish those things.”

Prom was planned to be on April 24, but there remains a possibility that it will be canceled. Many ladies have spent over $500 on their dress and it would be a shame if they could not wear them.

“It makes me very upset that we could have our senior prom taken from us because of this pandemic but all we can do is hope for the best,” Keely Kirby said.

For seniors of the past, an extremely exciting part of senior year is the last week of school.

“I remember telling Mr. Hurelbrink that like this might be the last time being at this school,” Caleb Edwards said. “The last week was probably gonna be the most memorable moment.”

The happiest day of a senior’s life is graduation, our graduation is scheduled for May 16. However, many colleges in Illinois have already canceled their graduation. Could our high school be next?

“It’s really hard to think about the possibility of not having graduation,” Hannah Reichert said. “We have worked so hard for the last 12 years and this is supposed to be the day that shows all of that hard work.”

During graduation, the top student or in the Class of 2020’s case, the top two students stand in front of their community and give a valedictorian speech. However, the students that worked so hard to get that title for the last 12 years might not be able to deliver that speech.

“I’m not horribly upset but it is kind of disappointing to not give a speech that recognizes my accomplishment and how hard I’ve had to work to get to be valedictorian,” Madeline Klinger, one of the valedictorians said.

After the end of the school year, select students were expected to take a trip to Europe on June 9-19. The trip has not been canceled yet but there is a chance it will be, however, the students will not know until April 1.

“If it [the trip] does get canceled, I’ll be disappointed obviously,” Moriah Renfro said. “I’ve spent the last year saving, budgeting, working multiple hours, and not playing sports to make more money to be able to pay for my Europe trip.”