March 12th. A day that occurs every year. If you asked me what I was doing on that day in 2010, I couldn’t tell you anything besides the fact that I was seven-years-old, and I probably spent most of the day in second grade and playing at home.
Ten years later, if you ask me what I was doing on March 12th, 2020, I can tell you exactly what I did and with vivid details. March 12th would turn out to be my last day in Brewster High School and the last day I spent there, with my friends, in our senior year.
I had completed only two class periods, one of which was cut short. When the crackling sound of the PA interrupted our period 3 class, we listened closely for the announcement. We learned that we were dismissing immediately and would be closed the following day, as well.
I remember running out of the building and going to get food at Empire Bagel with my friends Michelle and Marissa. We were so excited and talked about how excited we were for the rest of the week off from school and all the fun things we could plan. We didn’t talk much about the Coronavirus or Covid-19 because we didn’t know much. We just thought people were overreacting, and that the news and media coverage was a little overly dramatic.
From that time at Empire Bagel to this very second, I have shed enough tears to fill an ocean. We all worked so hard for thirteen years of our lives only to have our culminating ceremony pulled out from under us by something huge, unprecedented, and uncontrollable. There is no way to articulate what my friends and the members of the Class of 2020 are experiencing. It’s hard to be so angry because there is nowhere to place the blame, it’s simply free-floating anger and disappointment.
For me, being with my friends is an escape. I think most of my classmates will agree. And having that resource taken away from us as teenagers and being forced to stay at home for days on end has been very stressful. We feel suffocated by school work and the regular worry and wonder about when this constant stress will be relieved. When will we be allowed to be with our friends and dispel the constant loneliness? We were born into childhoods when the world was mourning and grieving over 9/11, and now we are entering our young adulthood during a global pandemic. But here is what I know: the Class of 2020 is the strongest one yet, and the things we will do in our collective future will change lives.
During this time of sheltering at home, I’ve tried so hard to make people like my fellow classmates feel recognized. I created an Instagram page highlighting each student and their path choices. It has become such a great space for people to feel proud of themselves and others.
I had time that needed to be filled up productively. I thought and researched and planned, and I decided to create my own business. I have filled over ten orders for customized and embellished souvenir glasses. The positive reviews I have gotten have warmed my heart and make me feel very productive. I have not wasted time in quarantine. I have filled a need in the online market and replaced my negative thoughts with positive energy and pro-action. During such an unprecedented time full of negativity in the world, I have found it is best to search for something productive that makes you happy. I love creating and designing personalized gifts that people recognize for their sentimental value.
This whole quarantine experience has made me appreciate the little things that we can do on a daily basis and probably have taken for granted now that we cannot do them. For example, I initially thought that not being allowed to go to school was a blessing. But this time lost at BHS with my friends has turned out to be one of the most heartbreaking events in my life. High school is not forever and for many of us, it got cut short. But the memories we made in a place we called home for almost four years are ours to keep forever. My advice to the friends and people who will remain at BHS is to cherish each moment, take every picture, video every performance, dress up for every game, and be a part of the place you will miss so dearly.
June 1, 2020. We learned, about two weeks ago, that our graduation will be ¨watched¨ from our cars. We will watch images of ourselves filmed a few weeks earlier, dressed in our caps and gowns, walking across the stage in the empty Performing Arts Center. Our images will be projected onto drive-in theater-sized screens hung in various places on the BHS campus. It will not be traditional, but it will be at home.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and thank you to Brewster High School for making me who I am today. Once a bear, always a bear.