Contributing article by Adan Youngblood, a rising Senior at Auburn University who is working toward degrees in Architecture and Interior Architecture. She hopes to work in historical preservation and also loves to write. Her interests include animals, coffee, and true crime podcasts.
On April 6, Madison City Schools announced that students would not be returning for the 2019-2020 school year, and the class of 2020 was forced to cope with the loss of the final months of their senior year.
For many, this confirmed their fears that the ceremonies and celebrations that they had looked forward to for years would not be happening. Seniors would not have the chance to get dressed up and dance with their friends and dates at their senior prom. They would not get to proudly wear their college t-shirt at their senior barbecue, or enjoy Chick-Fil-A with their class at the Senior breakfast.
They would not get to host their family and friends at their graduation party. They would not get to have a celebratory last day of school — their last day had already happened, without them being aware of it.
In between these big events, seniors also missed their last two months of time with their friends and classmates.
However, the Class of 2020 will still have the opportunity to graduate.
Graduation Day, originally slated for May 18th, was tentatively rescheduled to June 29th, and then rescheduled to May 26th for James Clemens High School and May 27th for Bob Jones High School.
This graduation ceremony will not be the one that many seniors had envisioned though. It will be held at the Madison City Stadium (instead of the traditional location of the Voan Braun Center). Graduates may only invite four family members or friends instead of the usual ten. A mask will accompany the graduates’ caps and gowns.
The most jarring difference in this ceremony will be that each senior class is split in half in order to limit the number of people gathering and to comply with social distancing guidelines.
The Class of 2020 was forced to cope with these unprecedented and challenging circumstances that separated them from their schools and their friends. Madison’s graduating seniors are certainly upset about losing some of this special time in their lives but are also remaining optimistic and looking towards the future.
High School Ends Abruptly: Seniors React
Here are a few seniors’ thoughts about the end of their high school experience.
“I won’t lie, the last few months have been rough to say the least. Losing all the lasts of my childhood was not fun, and I’ve shed many tears. HOWEVER, I have so many firsts that I’m excited to experience. Even if it’s clouded by a lack of closure, and at least the class of 2020 has one hell of a uniting story.” Carolina, Bob Jones High School
“I’m disappointed that it ended this way. I didn’t get a lot of my lasts like the seniors before me did, and I don’t get to graduate with the entire senior class. But I’m excited about college and what the world has in store for me. A botched senior year won’t change how I feel about the future!” Natalie, James Clemens High School
“It’s crazy, but we’re the Class of 2020. We can get through anything!” Sydney, Bob Jones High School
“[It’s an] absolute bummer. I’m glad they ended school to prevent the spread [of the virus] to the students, but the activities that the seniors missed out on, like prom and a proper graduation, is hard to get over. I’m glad we can give advice to the future generations once all of this over.” Jefferson, James Clemens High School
“I’m feeling bittersweet about the end of senior year. I’m happy that I get some time off but sad that it ended so abruptly. The thing I’ll miss most about high school is getting to be around my friends so often.” William, Bob Jones High School
“I never thought it would be over so soon, but I’ve come to terms with it. There’s nothing we can do about it. I wish it could have played out a different way because we’ve been working hard for 12 years.” Jayla, James Clemens High School
“At first, we were all happy to not have school for a while, but soon the reality settled in that we wouldn’t have our senior breakfast/lunch, our last prom, and the last chance of seeing all of our school friends and favorite teachers. Now, we are scraping for that feeling of a conclusion of high school, and it’s a good time to look back and remember and cherish all of our good memories, and to close the book on an amazing four years of our life.” Daniel, Bob Jones High School
“I am so thankful for these past four years. I have grown so much and I am so excited to see what is in store for the future! Go Jets.” Anne Madison Banks, James Clemens High School
“I feel proud to leave [high school] knowing that my class did our best and showed the world what we are truly made of. LET’S GET IT CLASS OF 2020!” Stephanie, Bob Jones High School
“Right now, I feel like it’s the end of the high school season, and we need to look forward to the college experience. The saying says when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.” Nevaeh, James Clemens High School
Although they didn’t get the ending to their high school experience that they wanted, Madison’s seniors have remained resilient through this unforgettable experience. Today and tomorrow they will officially graduate and take the next step towards their future.
For more about this week’s graduation ceremonies for Bob Jones and James Clemens, click here.
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