Dear Corona, Give us our Senior year back!


Raquel Perry, Reporter/Marketing Manager

If you asked me what my plans were for Spring Break, I would have told you how excited I was to go prom dress shopping with my mom, my favorite restaurant for my birthday, perform for the last time at the annual Arts Alive event, and  tour my top-choice college, Spelman College, and I most definitely did not plan to worry about whether or not I would be having a graduation ceremony. Now, that’s all changed.

Prom has been put on hold, restaurants have been shut down, Arts Alive is canceled, Spelman College is closed to tours, and my graduation is in jeopardy, all because of the current coronavirus pandemic. It’s not only my future that’s impacted, it’s my present. OCSA has moved classes online and I appreciate the precautions the school district is taking, but I can’t help but to feel sad for missing out on the end of my senior year.

Yesterday, I spoke to senior dance major, Areliss Lopez about what she was looking forward to most this year. She said that, when she was an underclassman, she had always wondered what it would be like to walk down the stage for graduation, go to Grad Bash, and have the most memorable prom. “I told my friends that we should shop for Grad Bash outfits together and go out to eat after the event. Generally, I was just really excited to know what it feels like to be a senior.” Lopez said.

Although there are mixed emotions among students regarding the future, everyone seems to have graduation on their minds. Seniors have worked for twelve years to walk across the stage, shake their teachers’ hands, and receive their high school diplomas. Now, we may just have to walk to our mailbox. Seniors like myself were forced to say goodbye to friends, teachers, and the campus facing the possibility that it might be the last time we’d be together. Though we’ve been preparing for departure, summoning the mental and emotional capacity for that in less than a week was difficult.

And then of course, there’s the emotional toll. My nerves have been on edge since the day I found out I would not be returning until at least May 1st. After attending OCSA for three years, this school has become a second home and being away from my second home has definitely taken a toll on my own mental health. Enrique Dowling, a senior vocal major, said he felt like his mental health was steadily declining. “I feel like mental health was never really good, but it was easy to ignore it when I was with friends every day.”

As a senior, there are already many things to worry about, such as applying for colleges, keeping up with grades, and getting good SAT scores. For Areliss Lopez, the stress of financial supply for college and events like prom held the most weight. “I heard that this is common in every senior class, so that helped relieve the negativity.”  Mrs. Gill, our College and Career Counselor has been the biggest help with these stressors. Without her, I would have not been able to survive this year. Even as COVID-19 interrupts our lives, Ms.Gill still says, “We are still trying our best to figure out the rest of senior year together, but if you guys need me for anything, please do not be afraid to reach out. I am here for you.”

Right now, I am agitated and I just want some assurance that things are going to be all right. For Jenesis Lawrence, a senior band major that has attended OCSA since 6th grade, OCSA has been like a family. “Not having a proper goodbye to OCSA feels like an open wound that would never heal for me,” Lawrence says. And this I understand.  Though a graduation ceremony is important to me, I feel that not saying a proper goodbye to OCSA will hurt the most. OCSA has taught me that I am capable of more than what I once thought and has shown me that nothing is as bad as it seems. OCSA has proven that I can adapt and overcome when a hurdle is thrown my way, even this virus.

But not all hope is lost.  I will continue working, one day at a time, and by the time I know it, whether it’s from my own home, I will be moving my tassel from right to left. To all my seniors out there, the best thing to do is hope for the best and find your silver lining. I know we will get through this together class of 2020!