Story by Haelee Kim
Associate Opinion Editor
Photo by Oscar Walsh
SPHS Principal Janet Anderson released an email apologizing to the senior class on Thursday, Apr. 2, in light of the coronavirus outbreak. California’s widespread pandemic has led to the shutdown of all schools for the remainder of the school year, leaving many graduating seniors with lost opportunities and voiced regret due to the slew of cancellations in their final year.
Traditional senior activities such as Chalk Day, Grad Night, the Farewell Assembly, and graduation have been indefinitely canceled as of late, marking an abrupt end to the rest of the quarter.
“I definitely have been looking forward to prom and Chalk Day the most because those are such defining and important memories that high schoolers have,” senior Britney Wu said. “[Senior traditions] are honestly really important to me because it’s almost like they’re validations or milestones… It’s like the reward at the end of this super long and difficult journey and it’s so sad that we don’t get to experience any of it.”
For senior Sydney Davis-Denny, many of her extracurriculars that have played such an important part in her high school career have been greatly impacted.
“For me personally, the thought of possibly having my senior musical canceled and my family not being able to see my graduation ceremony is the most upsetting. But as much as these cancellations are an issue I’m trying to loom on the bright side of it,” Davis-Denny said. “I now get to spend more time with my siblings before I leave for college and can celebrate my graduation another time. Also, while I should be sad, I’m just thankful that no one in my family is sick.”
ASB’s senior class officers had been working on making the year as enjoyable as possible for all seniors. However, the coronavirus has presented a roadblock in the senior class’s plans.
“As the senior president, I had the exciting responsibility of reading out all of my classmates’ names. The names of people I’ve grown up with since elementary school and middle school; the names of people I sat every day at lunch with; the names of the people who I spent the last decade with,” senior class president Joseph Lee said. “I was elected into this position where I promised that I would deliver until the end. Coronavirus put an abrupt halt to all of that.”
Anderson informed seniors that she, ASB advisor Casey Shotwell, Senior Class Advisor James Jontz, the Commission, as well as the senior class officers had been at work to prepare various contingency plans within limits of the current social distancing measures.
SPUSD has discussed virtual or online events as possible options moving forward. The district has already adapted to social distancing measures academically, implementing its Independent Social Distance Learning Program (ISDLP) on Apr. 6.
Regardless of circumstances, the administration expects to actively instill the help of the senior class through the use of surveys in order to get student input.
“Our class deserves graduation. No matter what it takes, the officers are prepared to make sure that we finish this job no matter what it takes. If it means we make a speech to the district administration to clear up one day in the summer, we will,” Lee said. “We may not have a Chalk Day, Farewell Assembly, Grad Night, and everything else a normal class would have, but we will have graduation or celebration of some sort that recognizes and celebrates our class’ success.”
SPHS administration will continue to send updates to seniors through email.