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Mourning the loss of senior events while celebrating a high school career: A letter to the Class of 2020

By INDIA KRUG– When the IHS Class of 2020 walked through the doors on the first day of school, none of them knew that their senior year would be ending in March.  On April 9th, 2020, following a two-week school closure that turned into a month, Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania schools would be closed for the rest of the academic year.  

It was news we were bracing ourselves for, but that does not mean it didn’t still hurt.  And as we watched the COVID-19 cases spread regionally and globally, many of us felt a sense of guilt for our misery, given the seriousness of the pandemic. 

But loss is not a series of orderly and packaged boxes whose size tells you how much you are allowed to grieve.  It is not something that should be compared. Seniors: let yourselves mourn the loss of activities you had been looking forward to, the sport seasons you expected, and the time you thought you had left at IHS. 

The grief may be confusing and spontaneous, materializing upon seeing a picture from a sporting event or school dance.  Many seniors have taken to social media to celebrate their high school careers by sharing memories from the past four years. 

Senior Nick Hilliard stated,“My favorite part of senior year had to be the football games and running out under the lights on Friday nights.”

This has taught us the lesson of flexibility.  Many events, such as IHS Mini-THON, which is a six-hour event that usually takes place in the school’s gymnasium, are now transitioning to an online format.  This means that Leadership Seminar students are problem-solving to create an event that still embodies the original mission, but is more accessible to a community now stationed at home. 

Senior Gia Grettler shared, “My favorite memory of senior year would definitely be fundraising for Mini-THON. Even though things didn’t work out as planned, it was still incredible to be able to see the whole thing come together. We are lucky to live in such a generous community.”

This has taught us the lesson of gratitude.  After this, we will hug our friends tighter and sing in the car a little louder. The initial shock of having our plans changed will be followed by a deeper appreciation for the moments shared with the people we love.  This will make us world-ready young adults. 

Junior Sara Kane said, “Seniors, thank you for everything you’ve taught us. It’s been great to learn some really valuable things from you guys, the biggest I think is to never take anything for granted.  I’m glad I got to know many of you and make great memories with you guys.”

Class of 2020: Although our senior year was cut short, we were never the ones to take a backseat in our education.  We lived our four years of high school to the fullest and should be proud of all we’ve accomplished. 

Parents: Let your students stay up on facetime with their friends, staying in contact with each other is a comfort. 

[Photo courtesy of Taylor Lang]

Photo Caption: “Seniors cheer on the football team from the student section.”

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