Just like any other year, seniors find it difficult to say goodbye to the places and people that built them. As the Class of 2021 looks back on their four years at Kingsway, they struggle to find closure on a senior year experience that shows little resemblance to the graduating classes that precede them.
In the final weeks of high school, students recognize that they still have much to look forward to.
In conversation with Mylez Jones, senior, he expressed, “We have a Six Flags field trip which people are excited about compared to the Clementon park trips from previous years. We all think that Six Flags will just be more upbeat, and although they aren’t expecting a huge turnout, I think it’s a great way to wrap up the year.”
Events like this, in addition to prom, mark the end to a year characterized by great loss, but also great triumph, perseverance, and adaptation.
For example, in terms of the college application process, “COVID made it easier because most colleges went test-optional. It would have been really difficult to get in on a Saturday to take the exam with everything going on, and such limited spaces due to social distancing. I’m just grateful I didn’t have to take it, and most of my classmates did not either,” continued Jones.
Ironically, in a world where there has been little in-person interaction over the past year, in some cases, communication has flourished rather than been diminished. “It has been really neat how they’ve adapted,” says Peter DeAngelis (‘21). “I had a lot of opportunities to do one-on-one zoom calls with administrators and admissions counselors, which has been helpful because I had a lot of questions”.
As the end of the year creeps up quickly, concerns have been raised about what the graduation ceremony will look like. As of right now, the celebration is going to take place on Friday, June 18 in the newly renovated football stadium where graduates and families can safely gather in person.
Students like Jones indicate that they think they’ll still enforce masks at graduation. “Covid is something that administration knows still needs to be taken seriously. Very few people are vaccinated, and I think that they could take advantage of that by not being honest, and not wearing masks.”
However, that decision has not been officially announced and is based solely on the speculation of both students and faculty.
Although most people at this point are looking to graduate and move on claims DeAngelis, there are quite a few things that all departing students will miss.
Specifically, Jones mentioned, “I think something that my class will really miss is the out-of-school get-togethers and parties. On a whole, the Class of 2021 is laid back. It doesn’t mean we don’t work hard, but we also really like just being with each other.”
Similarly, both DeAngelis and Jones had very little criticism of their high school experience. When asked what they would change if they could improve one thing about Kingsway, Jones jokingly answered that he would purchase a smoothie machine for the cafeteria, claiming that “Kingsway is perfect just the way it is”.
Years from now people will probably look back on student life in the 2020-2021 school year and define it solely as a time struck by the costly pandemic. Seniors want all people to know that they are not the victims of this narrative, but the heroes, individuals who have graduated high school against insurmountable odds and are prepared to face whatever comes next.
DeAngelis summarizes this mutual feeling best by asserting, “The Class of 2021 is looking forward to going to college and taking that next step. We know it’s a big responsibility, but it’s a responsibility we are ready to accept after all that we’ve been through.”
His message of optimism must be shared not only with his classmates but with all people hopeful in the opportunity to reclaim their identities as they enter new phases of their lives post-pandemic.
by Audrey Pachuta