A class on hold
Nervous, sad and concerned are among the many adjectives used by Minneota seniors when asked how they feel about schools being on hiatus while the world deals with COVID-19.
None of them can predict the future, and it’s the unknown that the 45 members of the Class of 2019-20 are trying to deal with.
Governor Tim Walz used an executive order last week to close all Minnesota schools until March 30.
Students, parents and faculty members aren’t sure if or when school will resume. Some are remaining optimistic and others not.
While many sporting events and activities have been cancelled, it’s this year’s seniors who are being denied memories in their final year of sports, awards banquets, spring play, State FFA, State FCCLA, senior class trip, and much more.
The two things vital to most seniors are still scheduled as planned, although they are likely to be rescheduled, altered or cancelled … prom and graduation.
While the prom and graduation ceremony are important to the seniors, they are equally important to their parents and other family members.
The prom is scheduled for April 25. Graduation is slated for May 16. Many parents and students were already preparing for these events when coronavirus became a common word, throwing all plans into chaos.
“As a mom, it just breaks your heart that these kids won’t get to experience all that the senior year and graduation is all about,” said Robin Traen, whose daughter Faith is a senior this year. “It’s hard to know what to say to your daughter.”
It’s especially hard for parents when their daughter has already picked out her prom dress and is preparing for graduation, not knowing if either is going to happen.
“We bought a prom dress and are having it altered as we speak,” Robin Traen said. “I’ve bought invites for her grad party and purchased everything for her party except the food. You plan for this for years. It’s just so sad. I totally understand why, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
We spoke with five seniors from Minneota and asked them several questions about their thoughts on coronavirus and how they have dealt with postponements, cancellations and the unknown.
MASCOT: What did you think when you were first informed that school was being closed for at least two weeks?
Molly Krog: “My first thought was ‘Oh no’, this might be just the beginning; what else could we lose? I was sad that I could be missing out on spending time with my friends and teachers. Lots of fun of social interaction comes with going to school and I knew that staying home for a couple of weeks would be a huge adjustment.”
Jackson Jeremiason: “At first I was excited that I would have a couple of weeks of vacation. I could work and relax. I even planned a trip down to Sioux Falls to visit my sister. A few days into the quarantine made me realize how much I missed my classmates and teachers, how serious this was, and all the opportunities I’d be missing.”
Katie Konold: “Once I found out that school was cancelled for the next couple of weeks. I immediately thought about graduation. I had no idea if it was going to set us back and/or if it would even happen.”
Nolan Boerboom: “When hearing the news about school being cancelled for two weeks, I was optimistic we would be going back soon after. I have tried to keep a positive outlook on the situation, but my classmates and I continue to miss our senior year and school events, and it has all started to sink in.”
Sean Dilley: “Well, I had heard a lot of stuff circulating around the media about the coronavirus and how cases were going up in the United States. And I somewhat thought of them closing school, but I really didn’t think the cancellation was going to be for the whole school year.”
MASCOT: What are some of the things you have been doing to pass the time during this shutdown of school?
Krog: “I’ve been reading my book, baking with my family, reorganizing my room, doing laundry, and going through my closet. I’ve also been working on some things to get ready for my graduation party. I’ve done my fair share of relaxing, too, by watching movies, visiting with family, and sleeping in.”
Jeremiason: “In these days off I have not been doing very much at all. I have been re-watching a lot of my favorite TV shows and movies, along with constantly checking social media and texting friends.”
Konold: “I have been spending my time painting cupboards and home renovation for my graduation party, which I hope will still happen this upcoming May. My friends and I made some Google Slides that we entitled “coronacation” (aka corona vacation). There we keep each other up-to-date on all of our quarantine activities, along with funny memes and pictures of course.»
Boerboom: “Believe it or not, I have started to clean quite a bit. I have two dogs, so they keep me pretty busy as well.”
Dilley: “As of now, I’m spending a lot of time with my family and just basically doing regular weekend activities.”
MASCOT: What are your feelings about the COVID-19 outbreak?
Krog: “I feel that our government will do their best to keep us all as safe as possible. If we follow their instructions and make smart decisions, I feel that the outbreak will dissolve as soon as possible. I’m optimistic that things could return to normal come late spring or early summer, but I don’t know how realistic that is.”
Jeremiason: “I am optimistic that the outbreak will slow down as soon as the weather gets warmer. I hope that we get back to school t some point in the last quarter before we graduate. It is hard to think that the last day the senior class was all together would be the Wednesday before state girls basketball. None of us knew. I felt like if we had, it would have been a completely different day.”
Konold: “This outbreak has definitely brought a whirlwind of emotions. In a matter of a few days, almost everything that I was most excited about my senior year was cancelled. My friends and I had to leave state basketball early, State FCCLA was cancelled, our senior class trip was cancelled, my senior softball season is at stake, and now prom and graduation are also on the line. Coronavirus has put a HUGE damper on my senior year, and it is upsetting. I can only hope that this will blow over, but sadly, I do not think that will be the case.”
Boerboom: “I certainly hope it ends soon, but I realize we live in a very rural portion of our state and country, so I know the impact can hit other areas much harder. I’ll just keep following the advice of doctors and other experts and hope it ends soon.”
Dilley: “It’s honestly insane how it spread so fast. I kind of thought the United States would do a good job on containing the situation. I don’t think we’ll be going back to school, but I am hopeful that we will have a normal summer.”
MASCOT: What are your biggest concerns right now in terms of being a senior?
Krog: “Missing out on the emotional milestones that come with the fourth quarter of senior year. Prom, graduation, and extracurriculars are the big milestones that come to mind, but there are also smaller ones like the Dollars for Scholars banquet, the supper at Mr. Hanson’s, the last band and choir concert, and the “Last Day” of school. I can’t imagine just not having those memories to look back on someday. Of course, prom is something many students look forward to all year, so I hope my class doesn’t have to miss out on their senior prom. One of my biggest concerns is probably the graduation ceremony. To not feel the satisfaction of walking across the stage and accepting the diploma we’ve all worked so hard for, to not put on that blue cap and gown we’ve watched all of the upperclassmen wear, to not look at my wonderful senior class and think this is the last time that we’ll all be in the same room, all sounds pretty upsetting and sad. Still, losing lives because of the virus would be worse, so I know that we can celebrate and be thankful from a distance, too.”
Jeremiason: “I do not have many other concerns as the spring play has already cancelled and as I am not an athlete. When I got a text from my friends that the spring play was cancelled and that my career was over at high school, as a senior it hit me really hard and there were quite a few tears shed that night.”
Konold: “My senior year has not been going as planned, but it will definitely be one to remember. As of now, if we do not return to school after March 30 and go to strictly online learning, prom will be cancelled. The only information that I have heard regarding my softball season is that there is to be no competitions until April 7. I hope that it does not come down to cancelling the entire season. I would give anything to be back on the field again with my teammates.”
Boerboom: “My biggest concern as of now is our graduation ceremony and going to school in general. It stinks knowing I might not see my classmates for quite awhile.”
Dilley: “My biggest concern about being a senior is not being able to walk across the stage and receive my diploma. We’ve been going to school for 13 years just to get to this moment so it’s going to be very disappointing if that doesn’t happen. I also feel like I’m missing out on seeing a lot of my classmates, this was probably one of the last times I’m going to see a lot of them and it’s just sad.”
MASCOT: As far as things like prom, spring sport and/or graduation, what preparations had you made?
Krog: “As far as prom goes, I have already purchased my prom dress and jewelry, and I’ve made plans to get my nails and hair done. As for my graduation party, I already have the menu, decorations, and layout planned. My picture boards are finished, and my guestbook and announcements both came in the mail in February. We also have the tablecloths and utensils purchased.”
Jeremiason: “As far as preparing for graduation my family has rented the venue, and we have started sending out invitations. One thing that my parents keep telling me is we WILL NOT cancel your graduation party and we will celebrate your achievement; which feels good to know that one thing will not get canceled this year.”
Konold: “So far, I have only purchased a prom dress. For some reason, this year I just didn’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars on a dress … I now know why. As far as graduation cards, I have not yet purchased them. We were advised to hold off on ordering anything with a date, time, and location. I am skeptical to purchase them because the future is so unknown. On one hand, time is ticking, but on the other, graduation may not even take place sadly, so this is a very conflicting time. I have my graduation party all planned out, so whether it happens this summer, or on May 9 like I planned, it is comforting to have something organized.”
Boerboom: “I haven’t made any purchases for prom, but have started to compile decorations for my graduation party. On top of that, I have my graduation invites printed, too. I guess during this whole situation, my classmates and I are preparing for the best scenario instead of the worst.”
Dilley: “I haven’t done a whole lot of planning on senior stuff, but it’s going to be very sad if we aren’t able to do things like prom or graduation parties.”
Even though the seniors are facing this adversity, they are taking the time to think about others, too.
“I just want to thank everyone in the community who helped us seniors fundraiser for our class trip, and also the enormous support we have been receiving throughout this process,” said Konold. “Your thoughts and prayers do not go unnoticed.”
“My heart goes out not only to my great senior classmates, but also to all the other seniors across the world who are in the same position,” said Krog. “It’s a sad situation, but I know that many of us, including myself, are extremely lucky to be home with food to eat, a place to sleep, and family to talk to.”