Class of 2020 Worries about “In-Person” Traditions Due to COVID-19

HS Seniors vs. COVID-19: EBHS’ Class of 2020 Speaks on the Coronavirus. NOTE: As of publication of this article, Administration HAS NOT cancelled any events beyond the 17th of April. Shivani Ghatak of Bear Hub decided to survey 52 of her fellow EBHS seniors about their favorite “in person” senior-year traditions. Keep reading to hear from students of the Class of 2020! *AGAIN, PLEASE NOTE THAT NONE OF THE EVENTS THAT HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE HAVE BEEN CANCELLED THUS FAR.


Bear Hub asked EBHS Seniors how they felt about the current Coronavirus situation and how it is affecting their last year of high school through a survey. Here are those results.

Shivani Ghatak, Bear Hub Staff

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China back in November of last year, according to the South Morning China Post, the disease has been rapidly jumping from person to person and affecting thousands all across the globe. And the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic as of 11 March 2020. That same day at 5:40 PM, Dr. Victor Valeski, Superintendent of East Brunswick Public Schools, notified students that there had been cases in our area, resulting in school closure. Since then, EB students have been stuck at home along with the rest of the world, and they are all getting adjusted to distance learning. With cases rising high school seniors everywhere are expressing concerns. Not being able to physically attend school worries many, and they fear missing out on important traditions that are a staple to their final year in high school.

Shivani Ghatak of Bear Hub decided to survey 52 of her fellow EBHS seniors to hear their takes on the situation and find out which of these aspects of senior year are they most nervous about missing out on.

For 4 of the 52 seniors, the thought of not being able to have one last hoorah with their teammates before they say goodbye to high school is upsetting. Whether it be a final, killer drive on the golf course, your last run on the track for the win, or hitting that jaw dropping grand slam at the last minute, the fear of losing these moments leaves them with tears. Thomas Valenti, a senior on the boys lacrosse team, says that “Playing throughout high school and finally getting to the senior season and it going away and looking forward to the events that come with it is disappointing. I hope that we are able to spend one more day as a team.” For Magdalyn McGlyn, 12, “Sports were the biggest part of my high school experience and I wasn’t ready to have it cut so short. But I’m also so sad about all the other things.”

Like athletics, prom is one of those experiences that everyone dreams about. From all the magical portrayals of prom in the media: cute proposals, fancy dresses and suits, and a night of fun with your peers are memories that will last forever. 23% of respondents survey-takers express the nervousness they feel about a potential cancellation of prom because of how important it is to them. Alex Podsvirow, 12, explains that “Nearly half of the girls [who are planning on] attending prom have gotten their dresses, myself included. We have been wanting a boyfriend, wanting this princess moment since the beginning, and if anything I urge EBHS to AT LEAST move prom to a later date.”

While the possibility of not having prom has gotten a lot of seniors worked up, especially as some schools in other states or districts have cancelled theirs thus far, the odds of not being able to walk at graduation hits hard too. 30% of seniors surveyed said they are most nervous about potentially missing an “in-person” graduation.  (Additionally 10% wrote in the answer “both prom and graduation” because they simply couldn’t choose between them.) Jack Krawet, 12, voices that “Prom and graduation are really important for me – graduation more so than prom, but both are huge moments in a person’s life… to think we could miss out on both because of this is really devastating to say the least.”

It is clear that making memories and being with friends is a big highlight of school in general, especially senior year. After high school, people move to places all over the world to attend college and start the next chapter in their life. For 11 of the 52 respondents, this is what they’ve been missing due to the quarantine.

An additional 4 seniors decided to select what memories they are most upset about potentially missing, voting for the spring musical of “Guys and Dolls,” the Night of Jazz, the Masquerade Ball, and even one for all of the options that were originally provided. Emily Mazzeo, 12, says that “Making memories, and seeing my friends really covers all the above that I’m really gonna miss. Prom, the possibility of not walking at graduation, and especially my last possible drama show. It’s upsetting.”

So many other respondents feel the same way with Jon Diaz, 12, feeling notably heartbroken. “A warning that that Wednesday would’ve potentially been our last day as an EBHS high school student would’ve been nice.” Jon wishes he and other seniors had the chance to “embrace the last memories we have with our teachers and our school friends. Instead, everything got stripped from us so abruptly. Every high school student looks forward to their senior prom, graduation, skip day, etc… at least one of them. [The possibility of missing] these events and truly tak[ing] in our last days here makes me very sad,” he responds.

Though the most common worries relate to missing graduation or prom, every aspect of senior year is important and provides memories that last a lifetime. Thanks to an update from Dr. Valeski and EBHS principal, Dr. Vinella, as of 3:10 PM on 27 March 2020, schools will remain closed at least until the 17th of April, but as of publication of this article, there has been no decision to cancel any events beyond that date.

All-in-all, since nothing has been officially cancelled yet, EBHS seniors can still have hope as they push through the struggles of social distancing.