Seniors navigate difficult year


Sophie Dorrance-Minch, staff writer

The infamous coronavirus pandemic has impacted not only the class of 2020, but also 2021. Schools have assisted high school seniors differently and the seniors themselves used alternate methods to succeed academically. 

Internet usage over direct communication is more prominent during this era and even counselors have to rely on it in order to stay safe from Covid.  Adam Pearish of our college prep team has confirmed the stark contrast between pre-Covid and Covid era.

This pandemic has allowed us to try different things – some things worked and some didn’t…it did not stop us from reaching out to students.”

— Adam Pearish

“The pandemic has impacted our daily life in the Office of College & Career Readiness, however, it did not stop us from reaching out to students,” Pearish said. “When we went virtual in November, our office onboarded 18 bus drivers, bus monitors, paraprofessionals, and administrative assistants to begin reaching out to every senior on a weekly basis at Ben Davis High School, Ben Davis Extended Day, Wayne Preparatory Academy, and Wayne at Home.

“We started our outreach by contacting each student’s guardian to explain what we’re doing and then began contacting students via cell phone, text message, or email. We wanted to make sure you were not only on track toward graduation, but also staying well mentally and emotionally. We created a helpful information document for our staff that covered all of your questions – what to do with a broken chromebook, no WiFi access at home, lack of food in the household, how to order a cap and gown, how to file the FAFSA – everything to ensure that you can be successful and stay on track while learning at home.

He, much like us, is struggling and also finding alternative efforts to maintain contact with others through trial and error. When he and other counselors do make a mistake, “we reflect on what we do and make changes as needed so that we are reaching you and getting important information to you more effectively.“

Although Covid has placed some obstacles in front of us, the counselors are resilient.

“This pandemic has allowed us to try different things – some things worked and some didn’t…it did not stop us from reaching out to students,” Pearish said. 

According to what Pearish has explained, he and the counselors have tried various methods digitally to reach out to students and it took some effort due to some students preferring different contact methods or not having access to the wifi.

Speaking of students, Covid has made the year 2021 interesting for our current high school seniors. There have been some who struggle academically through the pandemic while others have thrived in some ways.

For Jacob Allison, “Online learning has affected my grades because not only the amount of work, but the trying to stay focused at home.”

He, much like many other students, has some difficulties trying to focus on schoolwork during elearning days. However, he “brought a calendar and tried to write on the calendar so that I can keep track of my assignments and it helps me with daily life, not just school.”

Covid has made it hard for students to catch up on schoolwork because home isn’t the best learning environment, but students have learned some ways of trying to stay on track.

Not only is learning affected by the pandemic, it’s also the academic plans, whether it be since years ago or made recently.

Alyda Leissner, an early class of 2021 graduate, claimed “I wasn’t planning on going to college right out of high school, so it didn’t affect preparations.”

It turns out that there are some seniors less affected by Covid than others, but everyone overall was affected to some extent.

Leissner also stated “I don’t think Covid changed my schoolwork other than putting it all online.”

She happens to be one of the 2021 seniors not phased by Covid. There is still an issue she faced and it was “I wasn’t able to talk to my friends in person, and that strained how easily we can communicate.”

Not gonna lie, feeling lonely sure is common during the pandemic era of school due to how we’re distancing ourselves from others and the hybrid schedule has separated us into groups, which prevents us from socializing with many people and being able to see our friends at school. How Leissner describes her school year was “On a scale of 1-10, one being it sucked and 10 being it rocked, I’d say it was about a 7 for me. Lonely, but it was fast and easy.”

There is something nice Leissner has said about what her teachers have done and it’s “all of my teachers understood the stress of it all, and made sure to not overwhelm us.”

To be honest, some teachers have been aware of how stressed students are in their difficult lives and decide to lessen the workload to ease the stress and also make it easier for students, which includes seniors, to keep up with their classes. Even though school has been lonely this year and albeit last year too, at least there are some people we can rely on to shed some light into our lives to ease our pain during eventful life-changing moments. We have to thank those teachers for being understanding to their students.