Sunday, May 24, 2020

COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, the pandemic—this crisis has taken over everything. It’s on our nightly news, in our conversations and now it’s in our communities. In light of this, school, events and simchas all over the country have been canceled. For some, this “break” may not be a huge burden. However, to high school seniors, COVID-19 is ruining their final high school experiences. As a senior at RKYHS, I believe I can speak on behalf of 12th graders everywhere: We are sad.

After 12 amazing years at Kushner, I, along with my peers, looked forward to senior year for as long as I can remember. Though a bittersweet time, the final year of high school is supposed to be filled with annual events, planned by the administration and faculty, that make all of our hard work worth it. These include the senior dinner, senior sessions and Poland trip, as well as the school-wide shabbaton, tiyul beit sifri, Battle of the Bands, Kushner Cup and much more. Being seniors means engaging in these events with the utmost ruach, and basically being the stars of the show.

The day-to-day school days are also special for seniors, because all eyes are on us as we complete our high school-oriented tasks and move on to pure learning and fun. Unfortunately, all of this has now been taken away from us. Multiple events at yeshivas and schools all over have been canceled, which takes away from the seniors’ collective experiences. Upsetting to underclassmen as well, these cancellations are not the end for them; they will have these experiences next year. To seniors, this was to be our last hurrah that we will never get back.

And it goes beyond just the social experiences. We are supposed to be choosing colleges, but admitted student days are being cancelled at colleges all over. How are we to decide where to spend the next part of our academic careers if we can’t visit any of our options? At least most of us have decided on gap-year plans, although we are fearful that they, too, may be affected by COVID-19.

Though the cancellations are ultimately the wisest thing, these precautions have taken away so much from our “senior year experience.” Unfortunately, with COVID-19 being as unpredictable as it is, we are unsure if we will even get back to school at all this year. Did our senior year end without any notice? We cannot even interact with our friends outside of school due to social distancing and self-quarantines. Text, Snapchat and FaceTime are just not enough! For now, seniors all over are just praying that we will return to the halls of our beloved schools eventually, so we can enjoy our final days of high school the right way.

Hannah Kirsch was a summer intern with The Jewish Link and is hoping to return to being a high school senior very soon.