Coronavirus’ impacts on the Class of 2020

“I feel like if I can’t walk across that stage, then I didn’t graduate at all.”

On April 6, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee extended school closures for the rest of the 2019-20 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students, school staff and families have been affected everywhere by the coronavirus and the senior class of 2020 has recognized that much of their senior year is compromised due to the effects of the disease.

“I have dreamt of graduation and senior year ever since entering high school, so to see everything either be canceled or changed is very disappointing,” says Grace Pompeo, a Pierce College Running Start student and senior from White River High School. “Graduation is such an important rite of passage in everyone’s life. I feel like if I can’t walk across that stage, then I didn’t graduate at all.”

Pompeo says her teachers and professors have all been considerate of the current situation and she’s thankful to the college and high school staff in regards to how they handled the transition to online schoolwork.

Pompeo finds the new form of classwork to be a bit more difficult, being that it’s hard for her to feel motivated and get into a proper headspace to complete assignments.

Despite her challenges with motivation, Pompeo’s been enjoying spending quality time with her family at home. Having less structured days has allowed for more flexibility in her and her family’s lives.

Full-time Running Start student and high school senior Victoria Goodrich had a similar experience as Pompeo.

“My emotional state has been switching back and forth,” says Goodrich. “At first, I found some peace of mind. I was keeping myself distracted by doing little things that made me happy. More time has passed and I’ve realized how mad I am about how my senior year was taken away. All I have left to do is mourn, do schoolwork and miss my friends.”

However, Goodrich has taken up the opportunities to spend extra time with her family members, particularly her siblings. She does her homework with her sister and finds herself playing Mario Kart inside of a fort she and her siblings built.

“Graduation and prom were never a priority to me, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited for them,” says Goodrich. “I had a Zoom call with my choir and we were all crying and heartbroken over everything. The joy that is brought by performing with them would have been the best way to say goodbye to the people I grew up with.”

Another Pierce College high school senior, Carlos De La Rosa, is shocked by the way graduation has turned out.

“A pandemic like this is something that I did not expect to experience in my lifetime,” says De La Rosa. “The thought of being caught in a pandemic seemed like a strange and outdated possibility.”

Midway into his senior year, De La Rosa transferred from White River High School to being a homeschool student. He later enrolled in Running Start to escape the traditional high school experience.

De La Rosa says he didn’t care about how the virus had affected his senior year. However, he’s disappointed that he can no longer interact with his college classmates and participate in college events.

“I do get to spend more time focusing on the other aspects of life outside of my college career,” says De La Rosa. “I get to focus on my Christian faith, play my guitar, sing and exercise more often.”

According to De La Rosa, online courses through Pierce were easier for him. He found the workload to be light, manageable and meaningful.

“The hardest thing (about this pandemic) is getting along with my two younger teen brothers,” says De La Rosa. “We live in a small space, so privacy is hard to come by. I do not have many places to go to study, hang out with friends, read or rest. Family is the best and worst aspect of the stay-at-home order for me.”

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Hannah Nelson

Coronavirus’ impacts on the Class of 2020

by Hannah Nelson time to read: 3 min