Not the Expected Exit

After 12 years of waiting for senior events, the Covid-19 pandemic cancels them

Abington+High+School+senior+Drew+Wilson+passes+the+time+talking+to+his+friends+through+Zoom+on+June+3%2C+2020.+Wilson+has+not+been+able+to+see+his+friends+lately+due+to+COVID-19+and+has+been+making+up+that+time+lost+through+online+video+chats.

Kerry Wilson, with permission

Abington High School senior Drew Wilson passes the time talking to his friends through Zoom on June 3, 2020. Wilson has not been able to see his friends lately due to COVID-19 and has been making up that time lost through online video chats.

The days crawled by slowly and painfully. Every day the same as the last. Until we finally made it to our last day of high school. But, that day did not feel any different from Friday, March 13, the day the pandemic closed schools.

It is hard to believe school is over. Nobody could have expected the end to look like this.

On what was the last day for seniors, Thursday, May 28, we expected to be outside with our other classmates. We expected to have been decorating our cars for the last hoorah around the boulevard, getting our yearbooks and having our friends sign it for the last time, or even eating senior breakfast at school, enjoying our last few bites together.

We hope people will remember our names.”

— Drew Wilson

Instead, we stared out the windows of our homes, watching the wind carry twirly whirlys from the trees to new places. We waited as the moment we had gone to school for countless years to happen turned out to be nothing but a lack of excitement. It did not feel so special.

For all the days after that last online class, the 2020 seniors were considered to be done at last. But there was a hole in our hearts where the joy of our senior year previously was. The COVID-19 pandemic limited us from seeing our friends, as we were stuck isolated in the comfort of our own homes.

We have felt sorry for each other and have missed being able to see each other every day. And most of all, the hardest part for us has been accepting change. Accepting the idea that we will never be in Abington High School again. Accepting that eating lunch with our pals everyday around noon is gone. Accepting that walking to class with a buddy and cracking jokes has gone out the door. Accepting that we might not drop sweat from a gym class anymore. Accepting that it is all over.

And we have to accept it. If we do not, then we will be stuck mourning a life we will not get back. That is the saddest part.

Life is full of choices, sizes big to small. Our final decision is moving on with our lives. We must make good of a terrible situation. We must enter the next part of our lives just like others have before us.

We know we are not the only ones to have missed out on a satisfactory senior year. Fifty years ago, high school graduates just like us were being drafted to the Vietnam War. Did they want to end their year going to the military? Many did not, yet they pushed through and showed an incredible amount of bravery that many still honor today.

While our conditions of having a pandemic alter the course of senior year may not be as extreme as wartime, our class was a set of people to once again persevere through difficult times. We hope our strength will be remembered for numerous years. We hope people will remember our names.

For us, that is all we want. We want you to remember us for conquering a losing battle. We, the Class of 2020, despite having to learn how to take classes online and show up each day for them, continued to show our persistence for all of the world to marvel.

To those who noticed, your acknowledgement does not go unnoticed. Thank you.

We will someday look back on these days, knowing that the mask hid our frustration. And although we might be filled with deep sorrow, we have to look for a better tomorrow.

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