One Skagit High School Student’s Perspective on COVID-19
By guest author, Brylee Axelson-Ney — Burlington-Edison High School Senior
No one expects their senior year to go like this. Everyone looks forward to their senior year homecoming, football games, pep assemblies, final athletic moments, senior skip day, senior pranks, senior prom, and of course graduation. No one anticipated an uncertain amount of time off from school with everything canceled and not knowing whether or not they’re going to graduate. Seniors won’t be able to properly say goodbye to a place where they’ve spent some of the most memorable years of their life.
It was the end of the day during 8th period. Suddenly, a message came over the loudspeaker. School was to be canceled until April 27th. At first people were happy and cheering for our extended spring break. But after a few minutes of contemplation, we all quickly realized that we didn’t want this six week “vacation”. We wanted to spend all the time we could together before we went our separate ways forever. My best friend decided we should walk around the school blasting sad music on her speaker. It would make people feel better. We did just that. People were coming out of their classrooms recording, laughing or just staring at us. Which was fine, we were used to it. Our senior year basically consisted of us always being together and making fools out of ourselves wherever we go. Over the summer, we even organized our schedules so we would have seven out of our eight classes together. We have spent four years being crazy together on the same basketball and track team. Or I guess three years on the same track team since the season was cancelled.
Well, we had a couple weeks of practice before we were limited to only practicing Monday through Wednesday. Then with the school closure, all practices were cancelled until April 27th. Then finally no practice at all. No competitions at all. No track at all. Track is probably my favorite sport. I have competed in and won almost every meet in the high jump since sophomore year. I was ready to jump this year. I was ready to win the district championships and compete at state for the third year in a row. I was ready to use this season to build up my stats to compete in college. But most importantly, I was ready to use this track season to say my final goodbyes to my friends. After basketball season was over, I wasn’t too upset because I thought at least we have one last track season together! Now I don’t have that season with my high jump buddy or with the tall girl track squad (which is what we liked to call ourselves) or with my best friend.
This year I was also elected to be senior class president. I’m going to be honest that being class president didn’t have many responsibilities. All I had to do was attend Associated Student Body (ASB) meetings, plan class future reunions, and plan baccalaureate. With the school year being shortened and no graduation as far as we know, one of my three responsibilities is cut off. I know baccalaureate is very important to a large percentage of the senior class. It is unfortunate we won’t have the opportunity to attend the event although it is kind of nice for me because I no longer have to stress about planning it. As far as graduation goes, there’s no sense of relief. Everyone I know was so excited for graduation. At graduation we finally would be honored for everything we have done in our high school careers, just like every class before us has. All the years we have sat in the stands watching our siblings and friends walk across that stage and thinking to ourselves, “oh my gosh I can’t believe that’s gonna be me in a few years”. The valedictorians who have spent all of high school maintaining perfect marks and staying involved in the school so they could be recognized at graduation. The parents who use this time to say goodbye to their babies’ and say hello to the new adults they’ve become.
I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful for my high school experience by any means. I loved high school. I am so grateful to have met so many amazing people and to have had so much fun during the last four years. I learned so much about who I am and who I want to become in the future. I understand the necessity of social distancing. I am very fortunate to have my health and my family during these crazy times.
So, to the class of 2020: I know this is hard and may seem unfair at times. However, I don’t think we should look at this as a time of sadness and pity but rather a time of change and evolution for years to come. We can set an example for future classes on how to deal with adversity.
Brylee is a graduating senior at Burlington-Edison High School. She will start at the University of Washington in the fall where she plans to study Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management.