The course of 2020-2021 has been like never before for seniors. This year, many of the upperclassmen stayed home to avoid any further spread of the COVID-19 virus, changing not only their school and study schedules, but also their senior experience. Although many felt frustrated for not being able to participate in as many activities as in previous years, others felt that doing online school would help them better manage their time as a student and as an individual outside of school. The Covid-Senior Experience will be full of anecdotes from serious to silly experiences and from moving memories to fascinating and exciting expectations.
Giving it all
Senior Luis Olmedo – also known as Lufu by his friends – speaks of the difficulties and advantages of spending his senior year as MSO (My School Online). He says that regardless of the senior year stigma that students have become uninterested about their grades and school. “I have continued to give my 100% to my studies and take advanced classes to further my studies and be able to accomplish my goals of graduating and going to my dream school, Duke University”, he said. Even though waiting for the responses from the schools that he applied to has been stressing, he is also very excited to get that “Congratulations email” that will open the doors for his future.
Senior Janisha Smith celebrates how she managed to “become cum laude in my graduating class.” Besides that being her proudest moment of her senior year, she loves the idea of being able to graduate among her best friends, “whether it’s through Zoom or in person.” Janisha also shared one of her best moments of her career as a student and how she accomplished so much in one whole year, leaving a mark of her own in Stingaree Town.
She said, “Some of my goals are still the same – like maintaining good grades – but the new goal for this year was to apply to as many colleges as possible, and I managed to be accepted into nine schools (FAMU, FSU, Bethune-Cookman, FIU, Spelman, Clark Atlanta, MDC, St. Thomas, & Barry). Another new goal for this year was to try to work as a club officer in 4 out of 6 clubs. It felt like it was difficult at first, but I pulled through like always.”
Changes over time
However, the Covid-Senior experience was not the best for every student in terms of schoolwork. Senior Jael Verdera said that the best part of this year was that it was her last of high school. She added that part of the reason why she wants to graduate promptly is because “some teachers aren’t really understanding and give even more work than normal.” Nonetheless, regardless of how she felt about school, she was able to cultivate herself and grow as an individual.
In the past having good grades was one of the biggest parts of my personality and I felt worthless if I didn’t do so. Now, I’m more concentrated in being a better person, working out (which is one of my biggest passions), and not overworking myself.”
Still, the high school experience hasn’t been the same for every student. Miguel Reyes talks about how he became a different student through the years. “Highschool has been the four years where I’ve overcome uncountable challenges that have led to a severe change in my mentality and how I feel about success. To put it into perspective, I started high school taking nearly all regular courses with the mentality of being okay if I barely passed those courses. Now, I am taking the most difficult Advance Placement (AP) classes the school has to offer with the intentions of acing the AP exams at the end of the year.”
He also said that as for his future, “I don’t necessarily have any specific expectation after high school, but I’ve decided to further my education in the University of Florida. There, I hope to learn how to become more independent as I will be moving away from Miami from my parents.”
Taking advantage of the pandemic
As time goes by, some students have learned to take advantage of this pandemic; however, it’s not all perfect once it interferes with your high school experience. Senior Ashley Martinez said, “I honestly feel neutral over my high school experience, and I would not have wanted it any other way. My experience of attending high school and college at the same time is one that I am proud of. I love my school and I am forever grateful for what it has done for me. I have been in many clubs and done many things, but the pandemic cut my school experience in half, so I cannot say I enjoyed high school to the fullest, only half of it, making it neutral.”
Nevertheless, she also advises the upcoming seniors to
If you want to major in something that is also in MDC, go for it there. You will have more money saved and receive the same education elsewhere. Also, take Dr. DeNight for an English class, he is the best teacher for it and will prepare you for college.”
Yet, the seniors of Miami High continue to impress the world with their hard work and plan for the future. Miguel Alvarado said that even though this year he was unable to hang out with his friends as often as he did during previous years, they all found a way to still get together through a pandemic. “The most exciting part of this year is that I’m actually having a lot more fun during lunch break because my friends gather in a game and is very fun play with them all together.”
Nonetheless, this senior has also faced many challenges during his last year as a highschooler. “The most challenging part of senior year is to organize my time. I’m taking five AP classes, one Dual Enrollment (DE) and two Honors, not to mention that i work five days a week, so I have to be very careful of how I spend my time.”