Leaving as Sophomores, Returning as Seniors

Once you become a senior in Park Ridge High School, you are expected to return to the building as a leader. You are expected to return as the example for the rest of the student body because you have had the most high school experience. But for the class of 2022, we left the building in the year 2020, expecting to return to the building in two weeks as if nothing had ever happened. Instead, the class of 2022 finished sophomore year entirely virtual and lived all of our junior year in cohorts or as virtual students. We have since returned to the building, at full capacity; however, the class of 2022 are now no longer sophomores but seniors!

With a year and a half long gap of education that was either on a google meet or masked in a classroom, the seniors at Park Ridge High School are left feeling quite out of place. Senior Aidan Giacomelli states, “It feels a little off because we left the building with no masks, no restrictions and the assumption that we would be returning to school in two weeks. Instead we came back months later to an entirely different school!” Senior Ashley Degeroge commented, “I feel as though junior year didn’t even happen!” Ashley went on to express how most seniors, despite whether they experienced covid or not in their high school careers, are reluctant to that initial feeling of being a senior. Senior Izzy LeCompte went on to say, “At the time, I did not feel robbed of anything. When we left the building we were not seniors so I felt at least I had some high school experience and I would eventually be able to return, unlike the class of 2020. However, it is definitely really strange because now people are looking up to me who I never met in person until this year and without me having had any building experience for the last year and a half!” All the seniors expressed how they felt the school did not have much of a choice and although their high school experience was definitely not a typical one, they are grateful for the places they are in now and are extremely happy to be back in the building with all of their friends and teachers.

So what does this all mean? This means the class of 2022 are not just seniors who have grown up in the building to become leaders. We are the covid seniors who learned to adapt to global change and adversity while still managing our academic lives. The class of 2022 has persevered through the pandemic and have returned to the building as leaders, only our experience consists of three forms of learning versus one: classroom learning, masked learning and google meet learning. We are all of course in different places academically, socially and mentally as every senior class before us has been. But together we learned through the pandemic and together we will all make it to graduation through the pandemic. We are the covid leaders who will not let a global pandemic stop us from being launched into greatness!