Dear high school seniors


EP Presnell

A year after quarantine began, senior EP Presnell reflects on her time in quarantine and has a message to high school seniors.

EP Presnell

There’s a prom dress sitting in my closet, still wrapped up in the JCPenny bag it came with. I didn’t anticipate it to be as grand as it ended up being, a floor length rose gold dress with golden swirls outlining and swirling around it. I remember trying it on in the fitting room and feeling amazing, and I couldn’t wait to see what my senior one would be like, hoping it would look even better than this one. 

But the dress is still in the bag and was only worn once after I got it. I tried it on during the night of what would have been junior prom, and I know it wouldn’t fit me if I tried it on now. Quarantine has not been nice to my mind or body. And now I know that I’ll never get a dress to one-up it this year because we aren’t having a senior prom either. 

One year ago, we left Manual in several different places. Some were excited for a long spring break after relentless months of school and tests. Some felt the odd feeling being off and knew this would last longer than a few weeks. Some had no idea what was happening and simply went with the flow. 

I remember feeling so excited for some time off, and to be honest quarantine started off amazing for my mental health. The weather was perfect, all I had to do was read and work occasional nights and for the first time in about five years I truly felt I had no work to do. I had no idea the pandemic would rage this long and take as much as it’s taken from us.

Being a senior this year has been one of the hardest roles to take on. We’ve been faced with college applications with no in-person help from counselors which has been a challenge to overcome and a mental battle faced alone. All of the exciting feelings with turning 18 were spent alone or with family members only. We’ve sat at home and watched the country tear itself apart but were expected to attend classes the next morning. We’ve cried, scratch that, sobbed over the mental struggles of school and home becoming one in the same. On top of that, we’ve had to watch events we were looking forward to pass us by with more to come. 

These struggles have felt unique only to us, but we’re not doing this alone. Seniors across the country have felt like this, despite everyone being in different states and different circumstances. Jefferson County was unique for staying virtual for so long, but there is finally an end to the monster that is NTI, in sight. 

The hybrid model will become available for us soon (right in time for AP testing, I know) but hopefully we can salvage what little of the year we have left. Senior events are being planned as I write this and it’s the end of the year which means we’re almost done! To all my fellow seniors, I can’t express how proud I am of us for overcoming one of the hardest things we’ve had to do in our lives. 

It won’t be the senior year we dreamed about as kids. There won’t be a prom and graduation will look a little different, but we made it to the end. We made it through our senior year and a worldwide pandemic all at the same time. 

Who knew a year later we’d still be here? I don’t think many could have anticipated it, but it’s almost over, and the dark that loomed over the last year is finally easing up a little. With vaccines becoming more and more available a form of normalcy might finally be in our grasp. 

To the class of 2021, we’ve almost made it. From sleepless nights to the countless cries and laughs we’ve had over the past years, everything has led us here. Congratulations seniors. It’s a bittersweet end but a well deserved one nonetheless.

Here’s to a year in quarantine and the hope we won’t spend another one like it.