For the new senior class, a cautiously optimistic start

Senior year has begun for the Class of 2022, and hopes for normalcy are in no short supply.

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Jess Daninhirsch

The lunch periods on the first day of school required students to sit at a safe distance, a precautionary measure carried over from last year to minimize the chance of a virus-related school closure.

Sally Cho, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With the exception of the final week of last school year (the only week with no Wellness Wednesday), the last time the class of 2022 was in school full-time and in person was their sophomore year in March of 2020. The past 18 months were filled with constant switching from remote to in-person learning and questions about when things would go “back to normal.” 

They watched as the classes before them had to go through modified senior years and cancelled events. Today, the now-seniors themselves walk through the doors with a mixed bag of feelings.

“I’m both very afraid and excited,” senior Stephen Gwon said. “I’m scared because we haven’t had a regular schedule in a year.”

For senior Madyson Cieszynski, however, the new school year brings nothing but excitement.

“I’m excited for senior year,” she said. “I can’t believe we are already seniors.”

The most pressing concern for students this school year is how it may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The concern is especially important to the senior class, as senior year is normally filled with traditional events such as prom and the senior banquet.

I’m looking forward to being with my friends in classes and hopefully having more events like Homecoming.”

— Madyson Cieszynski, senior

“I think that if everyone did their part by masking up and getting vaccinated, COVID shouldn’t be an issue,” senior David Schantz said. “Realistically, however, I feel as if it still poses a threat to this year due to the unfortunate amount of apathy surrounding the matter.”

However, Cieszynski remains optimistic.

“I’m not too worried about it,” she remarked. “I don’t necessarily think it will have a big impact as long as we wear masks.”

Another concern on seniors’ minds is their potential lack of preparation due to the past year of remote and hybrid learning.

“I don’t feel like a senior,” Gwon said. “I think most seniors think that during the start of the year, but it’s definitely amplified because of online learning.”

Senior Eleanor Park voiced a different opinion.

“I don’t feel unprepared at all because I think our teachers did a really great job with remote and hybrid teaching,” she said. “I’m confident they will continue to adapt through new change and continue to be the great teachers they are.”

The college application process has also had adjustments unique to those applying during the pandemic. Most schools have gone test-optional, meaning students have the option to submit their standardized test scores. 

“I think the process is stressful, but I know a lot of colleges are being more lenient because of the pandemic,” senior Katie Warner said. “I’m also confident enough in my grades that I know I’m probably going to get into most of the colleges that I’m going to apply to.”

Nevertheless, senior year is still a big milestone in students’ lives, and students are finding aspects to be excited about despite the looming concerns.

“This year, I’m looking forward to being able to plan more events for the school through the Student Council to help make this last year memorable for everyone,” Schantz said.

Cieszynski echoed these sentiments.

“I’m looking forward to being with my friends in classes and hopefully having more events like Homecoming,” she said.