The Class of 2021 has been looking forward to traditional senior events all year. However, they haven’t gotten to experience a single day of senior year that didn’t involve sitting in front of a screen at home.
Superintendent Austin Beutner released a statement Monday morning about in person graduation. “I want to share a special word with the Class of 2021” Beutner says. “Assuming health conditions continue to improve, schools will be able to hold some form of in-person graduation ceremony this year.”
This is incredible news for seniors that had not been updated for months. With vaccinated teachers and a clear roadmap to reopen, it seems like the Class of 2021 will be able to end their senior year on a good note.
While some Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) seniors are struggling to face the reality of some events not taking place, it is not as difficult for others. Many seniors have just lost hope or forgotten what it was even like to be in a classroom with other people. Certain students who are shy or don’t enjoy big events feel relieved.
“For me personally, the events getting canceled don’t matter that much,” senior Jack Taglang said. “I just transferred to this school and I don’t really know anyone. I’m honestly just ready to focus on the rest of senior year and graduate.”
While the cancelation of events can be a relief for some seniors, it’s a huge bummer for others who looked forward to events for so long. Despite Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) opening up its first vaccination site for people 65-years or older on Feb. 17. Teachers and staff have also begun to get vaccinated in late February and early March. With vaccines rolling out quickly, there is hope for safe gatherings to occur in the coming months. LAUSD, the second biggest school district in the country, has faced challenges all year about reopening but has finally came up with a plan for a safe return to campus.
DPMHS Principal Armen Petrossian shed some light on what he anticipates will take place in upcoming months.
“With only around 60 seniors this year and the return to campus in April, I would love to see some of these events happen. However, there has been no word from LAUSD about in person senior events,” Petrossian said. “Right now, it is all in the air. We have not received an OK from the district yet, however that is subject to change. I would love to see a senior picnic, breakfast, etc. Once we are on campus, there may be a clearer picture of what will happen.”
After being uncertain for most of the year, seniors are finally starting to see progress. Restrictions have started to be lifted and LAUSD has started to update families. This news is a huge sigh of relief for students that feel like their year has been wasted.
“I’m honestly just kinda sad,” senior Emily Rodas said. “Me and my fellow peers didn’t get to fully experience our senior year or participate in any senior events that we looked up to for so long. After watching the news, I have hope that we will be able to have some events with masks and social distancing.”
The Class of 2020 had a senior year on campus that was just abruptly cut short on March 13, 2020. Their graduation was a drive-by ceremony. However, seniors this year feel like they have been left guessing and are unsure of what the outcome will be as the last few months of their senior year are just around the corner. Senior Samantha Mills is frustrated to see people not following COVID guidelines as they should have. She believes that it has cost seniors the events that they looked forward to for years to just be canceled.
“I feel disappointed with not being able to have the full senior experience,” Mills said. “I understand the need to stay inside and I will gladly do my part, which is why it frustrates me when others are a little more lax with the stay at home rule and then complain about not being able to go anywhere. It definitely makes me sad and I wish I could still have those experiences.”
According to the LA County Public Health Department’s website, deaths, hospitalizations and positive COVID-19 cases have begun to decrease. Los Angeles County is getting out of the purple tier and moving into the less restrictive red tier, which is why indoor dining, theme parks, etc. have started to reopen as of last Monday.
“Although there is a lot of uncertainty, we are moving out of the purple tier and it is a good sign. I will continue to wait for updates about events and keep the senior class posted,” Petrossian said.