By: Lindsay Finch
In the fall of 2019, all the soon to be seniors were filled with the excitement of it being their last year in high school – our last football games, last homecoming, last sports seasons, last prom and, finally, graduation. While it is sad that our time at Eisenhower would soon be over, we could not wait to have a year that was full of memories.
We got through the fall with great speed, as we had an amazing homecoming in 70-degree weather and we even got to pull our cars on to the field goal line while tail gating at the game. The fall sports season were all a success, with both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams going to the playoffs. Football had a defining season with a young quarterback, and cross country had some of their best runs as a team. Then the weather became cooler and we prepared for the chill of a lake effect winter.
Winter was quite mild this year, to the surprise of many. The excitement of being seniors was dulled by the colder weather; however, we were kept entertained by history teacher, Mr. Penley, and his many crazy stories he tells us about his younger years. Basketball and wrestling started up, giving us games to go to and cheer on our very own Eisenhower Knights. Christmas spirit week was a very jolly time, as we dressed in Christmas colors and wore our Pjs on Friday before break began. But, during this excitement, there was talk of a deadly virus sweeping over China and causing major devastation.
The thought of this rare virus affecting our senior year never occurred to us as we counted down from ten on New Year’s Eve. We were focused on the upcoming Warren vs. Eisenhower wrestling match that would take place early February. A few tears were shed as the seniors of winter sports had their senior nights and competed in their last high school games. And, at the end of February, we were able to watch senior, Logan Jaquay, compete at the State championship for wrestling. At the same time, some of us were mentally preparing for the spring sports season that was quickly approaching. Not only would it be the last sports season of our senior year, but spring sports marked the end of the school year. Both students and teachers can testify to the theory that once spring sports are in full swing, the school year seems to go by at the speed of light.
One week of spring sports was already in the books and we were prepared to start games and meets. News broadcasts were heavily talking about the virus that now had a name, COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. To us, we felt terrible for the countries that had been affected by it, but we did not think we had to worry about it coming to the United States – until cases were reported in many different states and the government was now worried about the possible spread of the virus. The sports season continued another two weeks before we were informed that the governor of Pennsylvania was going to determine whether schools would close for two weeks due to the fear of a major outbreak of COVID-19.
On Friday March 13th, at the end of the school day, an announcement was made over the loudspeaker by our principal who told us that schools would remain closed for ten business days or two weeks. There could be noisy chattering and even some screams of excitement heard through the walls of the school as students could not believe that this was happening. The classroom I happened to be in was silent, as we all looked around, mouths wide open and faces in shock.
It was only supposed to be for two weeks, until another two weeks was added to the closure. After a whole month has passed, most of us had come to the sad realization that we will not be going back to school. At that time, the question of whether graduation would occur was not a thought; we were more worried about what is going to happen to our everyday lives.
There was about a two-week time period where everything just seemed to feel numb. However, after we realized that this is something that we will have to make the best of, parents and students jumped into action. Yard signs were made with the name of the senior who they were supporting. Signs were put up around town expressing how the community is behind its seniors during this difficult time. Talk of an all-county prom at the Warren YMCA has come up in conversations. As we approach what would be our graduation date, there are plenty of other little things that people are doing to make sure that we can get the best outcome of this terrible situation.
Although, we will never get the feeling of walking through the halls in our cap and gowns as the under classmen congratulate us and we never will experience our lasts at our beloved school, we must take advantage of every opportunity we do get, because in the blink of an eye it can all be over.