The year that never was: part 3

Sandpoint High School seniors share what it’s like to have their graduation year sidelined by the coronavirus

Editor’s note: We reached out to a few graduating seniors at Sandpoint High School to ask how the coronavirus has affected their final year of secondary education. We asked each student how their lives have been altered by the closure of schools for the rest of their senior year, what they were most looking forward to this year, if there are any positives that have come out of this situation and how students are reacting to distance learning. Special thanks to SHS social studies teacher Conor Baranski for putting us in touch with some of his students.


Jaycie Irish

Jaycie Irish.

Who knew one day we would wake up and be told we can’t go to school, go play our favorite sports and hang out with our best friends? If someone would have told me that would happen my senior year of high school — during the best moments of my life — I would’ve told them to stop lying, because that sounds absolutely terrible. Sadly it’s our new reality. 

Our incredible last months at school have come to an earth-shattering halt because of COVID-19 and it is heartbreaking. Prom, spring sports, graduation and many other events are all affected by this virus and it’s very painful to live through. 

Being stuck at home isn’t that bad. I get to stay in my pajamas as I do my online school work, but motivation toward school has dramatically declined. I had my hopes up that school would come back after spring break, and then after April 20, but now I just want it to be over. 

School isn’t school anymore — it’s hop on a computer and complete assignments and then move on to the next class and complete those assignments. I feel like we are doing the same thing over and over, and that’s not helping us educationally. I understand that this is pretty much the only option that we have for school, but it is not ideal.

Idaho’s high-school spring sports have officially been canceled as well. I have been playing softball for eight years and have dreamed of my senior-year season. I went numb when I heard about the final cancellation. 

I always had a “what-if” in my head; what if we can play a couple games in May, or what if we just have a tournament and the season is over? 

Looking at all of the goals I had for this season, and for our team, I can’t help but get angry because I won’t be able to fulfill them. I’ve wished and waited for this season to come since fifth grade. I wanted to be the awesome senior who leads her team to victory, but that dream has fallen apart. All of the seniors on my team have worked so hard for this final high-school season. It’s truly heartbreaking that I will never step on a field with them again.

Many people say senior year was one of the best years of their high-school career. They had an amazing prom and graduation, but we still don’t know if we will get either of those. Prom has been postponed, but will likely be canceled. Even though graduation hasn’t been officially scrapped, I’m sadly expecting that it will. 

I’ve been seeing many colleges and high schools resort to alternate graduation schemes such as a parade or online ceremony, but that’s not graduation. I want the walk to grab my diploma and I want the cap throw. I want what every senior would normally get. We all want that.

It’s hard to adjust to this new world we are living in. I feel like the memories I should be making have been ripped away from me. I should be playing softball and experiencing the senior night I’ve been waiting for my whole life. I should be preparing for prom and graduation. But instead I social distance to help keep my family, friends and community safe. 

Hopefully some good will come from the situation we find ourselves in, and I hope it comes soon.


JD Griffin

JD Griffin.

Since school has been closed and the stay-at-home order has been implemented, my life has slowed down considerably. Before the quarantine, I was practicing lacrosse for two hours every day after school, riding dirt bikes and fishing with my friends, and working toward my private pilot’s license. 

In my final semester at Sandpoint High School I was looking forward to my last season of playing lacrosse.This season, my entire team was working very hard and progressing very quickly in practice. I was certain that this was going to be our most successful season yet, so it is very disappointing that it had to end so soon.

Distance learning has been different, but I enjoy the ability to play with my dogs during the day and catch up with friends and family. I have also been able to help my family by working on various projects and chores around our house and property.

Distance learning has presented a unique situation. I don’t mind working on school work from my home, but I do miss seeing my friends every day and interacting with my teachers in the classroom. I am also in multiple honors and dual credit courses, so the material can be difficult to understand at times, but my teachers have been very helpful by posting videos, answering any questions and providing other resources.

I believe that the average high-schooler is taking the stay-at-home order and distance learning seriously. I believe that students are getting used to these unique circumstances and realizing that the fastest way we can get back to normal and stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible and limit exposure to others.

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