Portrayed in teen movies and romance novels, senior year is framed out to be the greatest year of any teenagers’ life. It’s the final push of the mandatory school system you’ve spent 12 years in and the year of finalized decisions for the future.
I spent the last three years at Air Academy High School watching the senior class experience so many amazing things and be in charge of the school for a few months. Each first day of school for the past three years has been splashed in green colors of the class of 2017, red of the class of 2018, and orange of the class of 2019; It was time for us to cover the school in yellow. The faux portrayal of high school in movies in Disney shows and cliché romantic comedies seemed real for just an instant, just because of how enjoyable everything was.
We painted the senior sunrise in yellow, called senior superiority to get the front bleachers at football games, and danced for hours at our last homecoming. It was all almost like a movie; yet, all movies have a plot twist or climax that changes the way you view everything. You expect it to come at the middle of the year when you’re stressing over your college choices, final standardized tests, and the overwhelming power or senioritis. In the movie of the class of 2020, the plot twist came at the very end when the outbreak of the global pandemic took the rest of our senior year away.
The COVID-19 outbreak started as another news headline that quickly got humored by internet jokes. Was it a joke anymore when the first case popped up in our country, then our state, and then our county? What seemed like a problem we would never have to worry about was starting to pull the strings of our lives. On March 12, 2020, the announcement that the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) had postponed spring activities broke to the school. It was the third block on a blue day at AAHS, and the passing period towards the fourth block was a devastating scene. Athletes with tears in their eyes and the tormenting devastation of not even getting to play a game or go to practice that day filled every corner of the hallway. The theatre cast and crew stood sadly aware that they will get no more than one show for the months of hard work they had put in. That same afternoon, El Paso county called for the closing of all in-school learning until March 23, 2020.
This was enough to drain our energy and set us a step back from finishing the school year the way we envisioned. The upcoming weeks started to blend together, redefining the recognition of the time and even the day of the week. More news kept breaking, announcing further return dates to school, shelter in place protocols, and the continuous deaths around the world. Soon enough no one was being allowed out of their house. High students lost their jobs, their ability to see friends, and eventually, their motivation.
It’s been an exhausting past couple of weeks; if exhausting was defined by an overwhelming lack of motivation, waves of sadness, and hours of looking at pictures of your friends. I catch myself regretting taking every step in the AAHS hallways, every second of in-person classes, and the last time I hugged my friends for granted. It can be difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed and attend “school” when you have all day, all night, and the next 20 days to do it. I believe as teenagers we were driven towards doing things with the reward of going out, catching a movie, or grabbing food; now those prizes have perished, and so has that drive.
This is the part of the movie where the town is grey, the streets are silent and the world seems still. We are waiting for something such as an ending, happy or not, or more news to determine our future. It seems endless and dragged on, but please, class of 2020, hang in there.
Despite the terrible times we endure, it is to our benefit to stay hopeful and seek the bright yellow in the darkness. This is a time to look back and be grateful for the past three years we were given. This movie may not end the exact way we want it, but at least every part of the plot was enjoyable. It is completely acceptable to be sad and unmotivated, but I ask you to seek a little bit of hope and seek serendipity in all we’ve had. The global pandemic can control only so much of our lives right now, what you chose to do with the days and nights you spend at home, is completely up to you.
This movie is not yet over. Chins up, class of 2020!
We’re not done painting yellow all over the school just yet, and we will go down in history.