By Katelyn Hough and Autumn Pecarovich, student journalists for Minarets Press
O’NEALS — The foundations of Minarets High School’s students’ lives have been shocked this spring. We find ourselves meeting online for classes. Religious worship looks different. Social life is now digital and we are spending much more time with our families. These experiences are magnified for our seniors as many special events have been canceled and they find their high school careers ending with uncertainty.
Much like the Class of 2002 graduating in the wake of 9/11 the Class of 2020 faces a similar economic and social aftermath of a world-changing situation. The Class of 2020 class faced tragedy at the most pivotal points in our lives, birth and graduation. The world won’t be the same after these events. It will change the way we interact, the way we travel and many other aspects of our lives.
Events we worked so hard for and SLEs we carefully planned have been either postponed or canceled for the greater good. This caused great disappointment for the senior class and challenged us to think about our lives differently. Many of us are facing new problems to deal with and emotions we’ve never experienced before.
In the future, we will seek out more ways to meet in person than online from this experience. Our value of friendship will be heightened. Although currently, it may seem hopeless time will pass and this will too. Focus on what you have instead of what you lack. We will arise from this situation stronger as a community.
Here is what some Minarets’ seniors had to say:
“To me being a senior means being the leader on campus, and the one everyone looks up to. High school is what everyone calls the “good days”. We are told to not take it for granted and to enjoy it while it lasts. This year, seniors are cut short due to the coronavirus, and this is extremely sad because everything we have so hard for is slipping away. I want to be remembered as the class that had something unique, not the class that got cut short due to the virus. We came into this world during 9/11 and we are seniors in high school during a pandemic. That’s just going to show how unique and special this generation is to the world.” -Hailie Warnock
“It’s disappointing not having school these final months but I’m not too torn up about it. It’s hard to be motivated to do online work, though.” -Davis Cesar
“I’d say that a lot of seniors are feeling very discouraged thinking that all of our senior year experiences could possibly be canceled. We were all looking forward to prom, grad night, and graduation. And the idea of those events possibly not happening is really scary. But, I know the school will do there best to inform us and make all of us seniors feel a little better during this dark time.” -Kelsey Jacobs
“This time has been stressful and overwhelming, however, the quarantine has given many of us time to focus on other projects and hobbies. School has slowed down a bit, I feel like I don’t have as many responsibilities. With that being said, it’s been difficult not to be “busy.” Currently, staying strong with a positive attitude is my main goal. It is difficult to give in to negative emotions, however, we must believe in the beauty of strength and perseverance. MHS, we are #StangStrong.” -Rebecca Townsend
“These are stressful and scary times for everyone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get through it. Every senior is still the hard-working, kind, and motivated individual that they were before this all happened, and it’s important now more than ever to show our strength. Moving forward might be hard at times, but passion and perseverance will bring us to the understanding that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know it right now.” -Mandi Villanueva
“It impacts me in many different ways. A few are now I have lots of distractions when it comes to working on classwork, in school, I have a less distracting environment. Two is that I have a project for a client in the shop that needs to get done and I cannot continue my work. And probably the biggest one is FFA since as a team in Ag Mechanics, we had a very high chance of qualifying and potentially winning this year’s state finals. But there are a few advantages, I have been able to work more days, been able to get more projects done around the house, and to be able to work on things outside of school and home.” -Hunter Ahrens
Here are thoughts from some teachers:
“It has been really tough for me not to be able to see my kids who I taught as freshman graduate this year possibly not in person. I have been able to keep in touch with a lot of them over texting, email, Zoom, and Discord and I am hoping I will be able to see them all in person before they go off to college and join the ‘big kid’ world.” – Mr. Ben Regonini
“I am so sorry our seniors and all of our students, teachers, and staff have had their lives and education upended. We are in a situation where we have ourselves and our lives to think about and our community, state, and country to consider. As we lament our unfortunate situation, we need to keep in mind the bigger picture. We need to do what we can to keep the stress off our health care system, to keep the vulnerable safe, and keep ourselves and our families healthy. If that means we have to put off many of the important things we hold dear or we have to cancel them completely, that’s what we need to do. I understand how disappointing that can be. My family and I are doing it ourselves.
At the same time, we’re disappointed, we need to embrace the challenge that has been delivered to us. We need to step up to this test and do our best to finish our year in a way that will acknowledge the greatness in our classes, our school, and our community in spite of this crisis. The Class of 2020 needs to distinguish itself in a way that this unique crisis has asked of you. Your principal is clear that he wants to do what he can to make graduation and the year-end celebrations as good and as ‘Minarets’ as possible but at the same time, it’s up to you to put your heads together and figure out how to not just make the best of this but to create a light in this time of darkness and anxiety. You can do this as there is greatness in your class. Here’s your chance to help yourselves, your community, and your country through these hard times. You will never forget these days and it’s up to you to make the best of them.” -Mr. Bob Kelly