I remember being a high school senior.  It's literally the milestone that you work for your entire school career to achieve.  And there are many senior "rites of passage" that are anticipated and celebrated.  There's senior prom, graduation, the senior picnic, senior week.  But this year's crop of high school seniors are facing something they never would have or could have anticipated.  The COVID-19 crisis has closed down schools across the nation and, yes, right here in western Kentucky and southern Indiana.  Students have no idea when or if they'll return to school this academic year.  Underclassmen will eventually make it back into their high schools.  Seniors may not get the opportunity again.

So, how are seniors dealing with the potential effects of the coronavirus outbreak on these milestones they have looked forward to and worked toward for years?  To get some perspective, I reached out to three area high school seniors to discuss the pandemic and its unintended effects on the Class of 2020.

Parker Medley, who's a senior at Owensboro High School, says, "Honestly I hate it. It’s a big letdown.  It’s sad that I, possibly, won’t be able to dance with my buds at prom or maybe even walk the line."  That said, Parker is well aware of why closing schools was an important action to take, not just for the safety of faculty, students and staff, but for the safety of our communities as a whole.  "I see the reason to do this social distancing as it’s vital."

Parker isn't alone in his concern or potential disappointment.  Courtney Peveler, a senior at Muhlenberg County High School, says, "Everyone tells us this is suppose to be the BEST year. The year WE will never forget. Unfortunately, us seniors will remember it, but probably not for the reasons everyone else did."

Olivia Miller, a classmate of Parker's at Owensboro High School, echoes that sentiment.  She says, " I have loved every second of high school and having the last couple of months of my senior year taken away from me is devastating."

Courtney admits, "For us seniors, some of us don’t know if we will have prom, a senior trip, a senior tour to our elementary schools, senior pranks, but most importantly graduation. What we worked for for 13 years may not even happen. It is scary. Very scary."

And it's those senior-specific milestones that all three and their fellow classmates worry about the most.  Olivia adds, "As far as graduation, prom, and senior activities go, I'm freaking out. I've been looking forward to senior activities and senior prom for so long!!"

But each of the three agrees there have been some positive takeaways from being out of school and being home with their families.  Add that to the list of unexpected results of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Olivia says, "The time at home has been really nice. I usually never give myself a break, so now that the entire world is on pause... I kind of have to. I think it's been a blessing in disguise. I'm always at school meetings, doing after school activities, or going on school trips, so I know that I wouldn't get this time with my family before I go to college if this hadn't have happened."

And speaking of things that have happened, it seems this particular graduating class is defined by major and historic moments in our recent history.

Courtney added this context to the Class of 2020.  "We came into this world during or after September 11th and now we graduate through a worldwide pandemic.  Although we may not know why this happened to us, or any of us, God will prevail."

Olivia Miller completely agrees and says, of the Class of 2020, " I think we're destined to do something great."

One thing is for certain.  After they move beyond this unexpected road block, there literally will be no obstacle that can keep them from achieving that greatness.  To the Class of 2020, you certainly have a story to tell and so much more history to write.

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