Seniors Voice Concerns

Managing Editor

Prom, the final sports season of the school year, commencement and graduation; these are staples in the life of a high school senior. And those intricate pieces of their final year are in danger of vanishing.

Since Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that all schools, kindergarten to 12th grade in the state of Ohio will be closed for three weeks through April 3, senior students’ concerns grew over the weekend when DeWine said there was a possibility schools would closed for the rest of the school year — a comment he made on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“At the beginning of senior year, it felt like this last year of high school would never end,” Memorial High School senior Allison Jacobs said. “Now that it is already March, I’m begging it to slow down. As a senior, I am absolutely heartbroken that this had to happen right when the best memories were about to be made.”

MHS seniors voiced their concerns over the possibility of their high school careers ending abruptly two months too soon. 

“[I] really don’t know what to feel yet about school being canceled, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet but I really feel for all the people in spring sports because I couldn’t have imagined losing basketball,” Jack Cisco said. “[It] definitely hurts. That’s the goal to get to that point where you can finally be done and say you graduated, but [it hurts] missing out on that moment to graduate with your class.

“It just came faster than expected.”

“It’s devastating,” Ashley Dawson said, who also stated that she agreed with what the governor is doing to take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. “We’ve worked so hard to get where we are now for it just to be ruined. So many things are being taken away from seniors. Spring sports, clubs, our last prom and maybe even the rest of the year.”

St. Marys Memorial High School announced Wednesday on Facebook that while many decisions have yet to be made, the school is still planning to have a graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. May 24. But colleges have canceled commencement, such as the Ohio State University and the University of Findlay — continuing the fear that seniors will not have a chance to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

“My mind has definitely been filled with all sorts of thoughts like these, prom is a big one,” Jacobs added. “This is one of the many huge memories we make as seniors and I know if prom were to get canceled, I like, most girls will be very upset. Graduation is making me worry too. By hearing that we may not even be able to walk across the stage and be handed our diplomas that we have been working for 12 years is absolutely heartbreaking. I have been looking forward to these moments since I was a little freshman and now thinking it could not happen is shocking.”

During DeWine’s daily press conference on Wednesday, he said there was a good chance school would have to be closed past three weeks, but did add that classes could also run throughout the summer.

A week in with school being closed, jobs have been a concern as well.

Dylan Dysert works at McDonald’s, but since DeWine ordered on Sunday that restaurants will close dine-in to the public, Dysert was concerned it would force him to work fewer hours.

“I won’t have the ability to pay for my own insurance and now my car payment,” he added. “With all these things about the coronavirus, it really hits hard for someone like me.”

While Dysert does agree with DeWine with how he has handled the situation, he added that shutting down school is a little bit too extreme and the same goes for the Ohio High School Athletic Association. 

“Because some people worked hard to get to the place that would have been, but I also agree to start social separation to slow down the virus. I don’t think they have to be so extreme and scared about it to be shutting down schools and restaurants for the remainder of the year,” he said.

Samantha Ackroyd, however, disagrees with DeWine. 

“I’m upset because even seniors that aren’t in spring sports have other activities like FCA all-nighter, DECA competitions or NHS trips and I’m in competition dance and even those are canceled,” she said. “Basically our senior year is gone because who knows if we’ll have our senior prom that we’ve been waiting all year for or even get to have our diplomas handed to us.

“From being in a car accident in the first semester to this virus the second, at this point, I just would rather redo senior year. We’ve just been anticipating this year for 13 years and it feels like it’s been taken away from us.”

The senior said she has been in dance since she was 5 years old, but FCA has helped her stay connected with God in school with faith and sharing her faith being important to her. She added that DECA has helped her figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life and has taught her so much about the world. She believes students should still be allowed to attend school.

“We are all missing what we love for an attempt to stop something out of our control,” Ackroyd said. “We don’t have to make things mandatory but we can make them optional for those who want to proceed with their lives.”

Ackroyd added that she will continue to do her school work and exercise on her own to try to keep her life as “normal” as possible. The bright spot, however, is the school shut down is allowing her to spend more time with her family.

“This whole year for me has been about thinking positive but us seniors repeatedly tell each other it will be OK and that we will get through it,” she concluded.