High school seniors grieve multiple losses as graduation approaches

Never in a million years, did I guess that I’d be stripped of my senior privileges and have exciting events taken away in the blink of an eye.

All throughout high school, we work so hard in AP classes, sports, and volunteer events building up to senior year. We are told about the fantastic experiences and class bonding among seniors. At Saint Ursula, girls in their final year of high school look forward to senior nights, where they are recognized for their progress and leadership in sports that they’ve played since freshman year. We also look forward to senior prank day, off-campus lunches, the Orange and White Football game, prom, and — most of all — graduation.

Little did any of us know that God had a different plan.

When receiving the initial notice that we’d be transferring to online schooling for a short time period, I was more than excited. It was going to be nice to have a break from stressful classes and a time to refresh and prepare as we neared the final weeks of school. I had expected to see my friends every day and continue boxing at the gym, a new hobby I had come to love.

However, this was not the case. The following weeks, I was completely self-isolated. Being such an extroverted person, this was hard for me. I tried to remember that this was temporary.

One day, I got an email from Saint Ursula. They sent a video to the class of 2020, telling us that we would not be coming back to school this year. I remember hearing this news, and feeling my heart sink into my stomach. How was this fair? Right when I was getting closer with my classmates and partaking in events special to seniors — like nerf wars — it was all taken away within seconds.

I had a couple of mental breakdowns but learned to cope. We set up our own boxing area in the basement, and I spend nights on FaceTime or Zoom with my friends. I learned that we were all in the same sinking ship. It wasn’t just me that was hurting. Something that really helped was being able to take part in the Class of 2020 Video, a viral YouTube video put together by a junior at Elder High School. Being able to come together with seniors from a handful of different states and share our suffering was special.

The biggest takeaway I have from this experience is definitely that things in life aren’t always going to go our way. I wish it didn’t have to be such an extreme example of that, as I am missing out on things I’ve looked forward to for four years. Although prom was cancelled, and graduation is moved, and classes are online, I have learned we need to adjust and I am hopeful that this experience will make the class of 2020 strong.

Elle DuMont is a senior at St. Ursula Academy in Walnut Hills who is also featured in the YouTube video, Class of 2020.