Long form: a look at the graduating class of 2020


Caleb Radcliffe

Caleb Radcliffe is just one graduating senior whose year was quickly cut short by COVID-19

Vincent Llanes, Copy Editor

May of 2020 was expected to be an incredible and memorable time for the graduating class of 2020 all throughout the world. For the class of 2020, however, these dreams were quickly cut short by COVID-19; the pandemic quickly spread throughout the world and forced in-home learning for virtually all students — effectively ending events like prom, graduation and celebrations for many seniors. Although the future still remains hopeful for the class of 2020, seniors and teachers agree that this loss is devastating.

Seniors are deeply impacted about the loss of their senior year. Although it may appear as a laughable loss to some, graduation and prom marks the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood for many. There is a serious meaning behind these events as they’re more than just traditions.

Senior Caleb Radcliffe is an example of one of many seniors who was actively involved in many after-school activities ranging from cross country to swimming; furthermore, he also takes many challenging honors and AP courses. In an email interview with Radcliffe, it was revealed that he was profoundly saddened by the loss of his senior year. He is only one of many in the graduating class of 2020 who bear the weight of having lost both graduation and prom.

“As a senior, I am most disappointed about not being able to finish out on my final season of track, as well as missing out on all of the final events planned for seniors including prom and graduation. It is truly unfortunate for myself as well as all of my peers that after working hard academically and in our extracurricular activities for four years, that we will not be recognized and rewarded for it as it has been done in past years,” Radcliffe said.

While Radcliffe laments the loss of his graduation and prom like all seniors, he also deeply emphasizes the significance of extracurricular activities to his high school experience. Having ran cross country and track for four years, it is hard for seniors like him not having one last chance to participate in such activities.

Social studies teacher Brian Caldwell also believes that the loss of these activities are very unfortunate as well.

“I feel really badly for the seniors who’ve worked really hard to enjoy those last weeks of the school year. They are missing key events like prom, awards night, the Six Flags trip, etc. Student-athletes are missing spring seasons and in many cases are being robbed of some sort of end to their athletic career that they were likely working towards for at least years … It just seems like things came to an end so abruptly, ” Caldwell said.

Caldwell suggests that there is more to senior year besides a loss of these events. He heavily emphasizes just how large of a milestone this is for many high schoolers. He believes that the disappointment from many seniors such as Radcliffe is very much justified.

“I think high school graduation is important as a milestone in one’s life. Students have been in school for 13 years at that point and while there are little moments along the way like going from elementary to middle school, and then ‘8th grade’ graduation, high school graduation is really the first point where your life will dramatically change after graduation,” Caldwell said.

Seniors are not only upset by the loss of these important milestones, but they are also hurt by the massive change to their day-to-day routine. Radcliffe believes that such interactions can possibly be even more meaningful than prom or graduation.

“Although I wasn’t a fan of waking up early and going through a full day of school everyday five days a week, I must say that I miss the routine of it and the learning environment. More importantly, however, I miss my friends as well as my teachers since several of them have positively impacted my life whether for academic or personal reasons,” Radcliffe said.

Social studies teacher Laura Rodey also sees the disruption to general day-to-day routine to be something that seniors are heavily missing out on.

“I think it is a huge bummer to spend the end of their senior years behind computers instead of at school … In 20 years, it will be a fun story to tell at parties, but right now it just stinks. They are missing out on all those fun activities — senior assassins, prom, senior dress-up week, graduation, finishing school early and rubbing it in the juniors’ faces, etc. And I know a lot of seniors are also worried about whether they can move into their dorms and such in the fall,” Rodey said.

Regardless of this, Radcliffe and other graduates of the class of 2020 still maintain an optimistic outlook on the future. Radcliffe also looks towards the positives of his situation in spite of his confined circumstances.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought me many ups and downs. The extra free time has allowed me to enjoy some quality Netflix, work out on my own and go on occasional runs. Although, I’d be lying if I told you that I wake up before noon. It’s been hard occupying myself when there isn’t much to do, and not seeing any of my friends doesn’t really help with the boredom,” Radcliffe said.

There is also much for the class of 2020 to still look forward to as Rodey and Caldwell suggest.

“I think high school graduation is one of those milestone events in people’s lives where they go from ‘required school’ to having far more control over what they do and where they go. Some of my graduating students are going to start working now, some are going to colleges nearby, some are going to colleges far away, some are going to COD, some are going into the military, etc…… It is the time when young people really spread their wings and get a lot of choice about how they want to spend their time. It’s an exciting transition! I could not wait to move out of my parents’ home and go away to school,” Rodey said.

Despite the unprecedented circumstances brought by COVID-19, the graduation class of 2020 remains diligent and unphased.

“Whether one is off to college or entering the work world, or maybe a combo of both, it’s the beginning of a new phase in life,” Caldwell said.