Emotions Are High for Graduating Seniors

Everyone has different ways of coping with life in quarantine. Some rely on technology to maintain social interactions; others prefer the escape of a good book, and for others, exercise is a way to de-stress during these uncertain times. Regardless of age, gender, social status, and education, the impact of the Corona Virus has undoubtedly weighed heavily on everyone. Weddings have been postponed, concerts and events cancelled, and family gatherings are limited to video conferencing, but for high school seniors, the loss comes with copious amounts of emotion. Several of Winthrop High School seniors weighed in on their new norm of living and the things that they’ve grown to appreciate.

Keeping busy and maintaining a positive attitude have worked for Patrick Haskell during these past few weeks. While the transition to online education has taken some getting used to, Haskell feels that the administration has made it as seamless as possible and he has embraced the new norm. The extra time spent in the confines of his home has allowed Haskell to uncover some hidden passions such as cooking, art and yoga.

“I’ve also grown a new appreciation and love for my family and I am grateful to be spending more time with them,” said Haskell, who will be heading to the University of Miami in the Fall to pursue biology, if all goes according to plans.

While Haskell has adapted to his new lifestyle of online learning and social distancing, he misses being with his teachers and the classmates that he has spent the last twelve years with. He has no doubt that the faculty at WHS will make the senior class celebrations a top priority and he has learned to take nothing for granted.

“I think we can all learn to appreciate the little things in life and live each day to the fullest from now on. I feel that being in quarantine has helped people gain new appreciations for certain things that will last beyond quarantine. I think it’s fair to say that everyone has learned something from these tough times that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.”

For Senior Class Secretary, Olivia Driscoll, online learning has been stressful, but she is grateful to maintain solid communication with her teachers.

“During these months, seniors have experienced a lot of change, and online learning is very tough when you are unsure about the future,” said Driscoll. “For instance, it is difficult to prepare for AP tests remotely and I had really hoped to do well on those. On the positive side, I am grateful that I can still see my teachers through remote learning and continue to ask for advice regarding my future.”

Like her fellow classmates, Driscoll has felt the emotional turmoil that goes along with fear of the unknown. Having more time to think, she’s found herself asking questions about the future.

“What will happen next? Will we get to graduate? Will we get to travel to college in the fall? The only way I know how to deal with the never ending questions is by keeping myself as busy as possible. I have spent a lot of my time brainstorming ideas for the senior class with the hope that we can reschedule events that we have all looked forward to since freshman year. The senior class officers have been working with our principal and superintendent to plan for a special end to our senior year.” 

Driscoll will be attending Clemson University to major in psychology and hopes to go to graduate school to study Speech-Language Pathology.

Like most students at WHS, Driscoll misses the teachers and has a greater appreciation for being in a classroom.

“There is a very strong bond between teachers and students at WHS, which has been helpful to me since my freshman year. I hope that we will be able to formally, in person, say our farewells to our teachers at some point before we leave for college.”

For now, Driscoll is focusing on the great memories she’s had in school and is looking forward to what the future holds, even if the world looks different.

“I think that people will be scared of getting sick for a very long time, and I feel that events that don’t allow for social distancing will be altered for years to come. I do think that this situation will inspire the community to be innovative and come up with ways for businesses to thrive and people to enjoy life. In addition, I believe that living through this situation will allow the world to be better prepared for similar future situations.”

A main cause of stress is not knowing when and if life will ever go back to normal. Senior, Kevin Dorr, has struggled to stay motivated.

“Being completely honest, it’s been tough having my past few weeks of learning online. Finding the motivation to work is difficult because there really is no finish line. We’re going to graduate and have senior events eventually, but there isn’t much to look forward to since we’re not going back to school,” said Dorr, who plans to attend Syracuse University. “I’m really hoping that this does not impact upcoming fall semesters for colleges. I plan on studying supply chain management in the fall, and that is extremely relevant during this pandemic.”

Like other students, Dorr has found the silver lining in the situation and has dabbled in hobbies that he otherwise wouldn’t have time to do.

Since elementary school, Hannah Capone has imagined she would graduate alongside her lifelong classmates. Like her fellow seniors, Capone has looked forward to the events that are traditional during the graduation season, and she never thought that she’d miss being in the hallways and classrooms of WHS as much as she does at this moment. Capone will be heading to Fordham University to study Computer Science, and while she was not prepared for her high school career to end so abruptly, she is forever thankful for the 3.5 years that she spent making great memories.

“I feel that the world will eventually recover, but I think “normal” will be a lot different. This is a pivotal moment in history that will change us all forever.”

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