Many students can’t wait for their senior year, to stand at the front of the football stands during each game, shouting storytimes into the rest of the crowd during halftime. They would have marched in the homecoming parade with their senior crowns, had a senior HOCO, senior prom, and a graduation. This year, that will probably all change.
The last first day of high school for seniors started at 7:30 A.M. Monday, August 17.
Most last first days started at home this year, which means later wake-ups and a more relaxing start to the day without the typical Leesville morning traffic. With classes only having 40 minutes of synchronous teaching a day, there is more time to be flexible in the schedule, along with the new two hour lunch period given. This can allow more time for the seniors to hang out with their friends, or at least FaceTime or call them.
However, many seniors are worried about the lack of face-to-face interaction with their favorite teachers and their friends. They don’t want to miss out on everything a senior normally gets to do their last year of high school. The administration will certainly make sure this year is still special for the seniors, just like how they made graduation special for last year’s seniors, but it is hard to tell what will happen this year this early into the fall.
However, this year there is already a senior parade planned for Friday, August 28 to make the seniors feel special.
No matter what happens, this year is definitely going to be different. “This senior year is definitely one that has never been seen before, many things high schoolers have taken for granted have been taken away like spirit week or student sections at football games,” said Cole Harsa, a senior at LRHS via text interview. Later in the year there may be an opportunity for a football season to occur, but there will obviously be some limitations regarding the student section and the amount of spectators allowed at each game.
Students also miss the classic traditions that have occurred at Leesville for a long time. “I was looking forward to creating and wearing senior crowns,” said Ella Jones, another senior at LRHS via text interview. The senior crown tradition includes the senior class receiving Burger King crowns and decorating them to wear to the homecoming parade, pep rally, and greenout game to celebrate homecoming (Senior Crown Tradition), another thing that is unlikely to occur this year.
Seniors also want to finish the academic year strong, seeing as it is their final year of high school and application processes for college are beginning. Being in school is more helpful for some students to be able to get more one-on-one time with teachers, learning and growing in the physical classroom in an easier way than it is to develop connections online. “I can directly get help from teachers and build a better relationship with the teachers [in school],” said Harsa.
Not only is it easier to make connections with teachers in physical school, but it is also easier for students to keep up with friends and be able to see them every day. “My favorite part of actual school would be the personal connections I make through it, seeing my friends each day was a huge plus,” said Tommy Debella, senior at LRHS via text interview.
“I am a very social person so it’s very weird only being around my family,” said Jones, emphasizing the importance of socializing and the ability to be around friends in school.
Although it is more difficult to make connections with teachers and friends online than it could be during actual school, there are plenty of online resources to help with that. Under “Our School” and “Faculty Directory” on the LRHS website, all teachers have an accessible virtual classroom designed to get in contact with any student who would like to get some extra help. There is also an online resources page on the school website to give some extra information about receiving any extra help online. Not only that, but since synchronous direction is only 40 minutes with a 30 minute asynchronous time, teachers usually welcome any student to ask questions or make connections with them.
Online school has its perks despite having to eliminate some of the typical senior traditions. Especially since everyone has been out of school since March, this allows for a much easier way to ease into the new semester. “[My] favorite part of online school would be the relaxed nature of it. I get to do everything in the comfort of my home and not waste gas driving to school or waste time getting where I need to go,” said Debella.
Especially for the seniors, usually the fall semester comes with the stress of having a job and trying to balance school, homework, and college applications with loads of essays. “I think having this online schedule frees up more space for seniors to work on college applications, work at jobs and other things to make life less stressful,” said Harsa.
Even colleges are loosening up on their application requirements concerning everything occurring with coronavirus this year. Most don’t require SAT or ACT scores and are more lenient on grades considering a lot of schools had pass/fail grades last semester instead of letter grades. They have given a more understanding attitude as far as AP tests and the application processes, since they consider the difficulty that comes with online learning. This also takes some stress off of seniors this year with applying to college.
This year has some perks and some challenges for the seniors especially. More time for applications, jobs, and overall less stress come with school being online, but the typical traditions are sacrificed, football games and senior crowns, and the general ability to see teachers and friends every day. However this school year plays out, the students are determined to make the best of it and end their high school career strongly.