Updated: Sep 18, 2022
All senior classes face challenges -- from the daunting task of applying to colleges to panicking about AP classes, but no class has had to face a deadly disease during their last few months of high school. Until now. It is unprecedented, but the Class of 2021 must overcome learning and graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senior classes of the past have always been guaranteed the opportunity at least to be together during their final year of high school, but, for the safety of themselves and their community members, coronavirus has left today’s students without the ability to do so. With the option to take classes online, seniors may feel more isolated than ever without their classmates’ physical presence, as they cope with the trying academics while the world is in uncertain disarray around them. The SA (Student Association) has always played a role in Barrack students’ advocacy, helping them use their voices to improve the school environment. However, student leadership has hit more roadblocks than ever before. Senior class president, Avi Loren ‘21, expressed his concerns as he and the other senior grade officers confront the challenge of funding their grade and keeping morale up, “The uncertainty of these times brings many unusual challenges for any grade officer: there are fewer sales opportunities and it’s more difficult to communicate with students and faculty.” With administrators making sure that the school is safe enough for students and faculty, it is the grade officers’ difficult job to move forward with tasks like creating the grade shirts, while not knowing if their peers will be able to wear them and stand side by side.
Additionally, seniors with extracurricular activities and sports leadership roles must tackle practicing for a game they are uncertain will go on. Lexi Schachter ‘21, a new team leader in Barrack athletics, noted that “it’s been challenging because as a leader on sports teams, we have to work around COVID restrictions and find ways to work out together and apart in preparation for the seasons, while we don’t even know if we’re going to be able to play. But I’m excited for this to hopefully pay off and have a great year.” It is difficult to believe that just one year ago, Barrack’s teams were winning historic championships, and now there is uncertainty whether winter and spring sports will be continuing at the beginning of the year.
As the new seniors are forced to think about their futures, there is no ability to meet college students on campus, and uncertainty clouds past staples of the college process like standardized testing. Emails contradicting each other are sent to seniors while they try to prepare themselves mentally for living arrangements on unfamiliar campuses, and class interactions are riddled with question marks. Ultimately, if the Class of 2021 can make it through coronavirus, it surely will be the most resilient graduating class in history.