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With the Class of 2020 cancelled, seniors share what they'll miss the most

The Class of 2020 never saw this coming. High school seniors were in for the year of their lives: an epic prom evening, a spirited senior dinner and a definitive commencement ceremony.

Then the coronavirus outbreak happened…all of that has simply vanished, rendered irrelevant while we work to keep ourselves safe and healthy. Nonetheless, 12th graders yearn to be celebrated for their school accomplishments—and not just through a virtual graduation or Zoom prom. Here, seniors from around the world share what they'll miss most… 

"Having grown up watching High School Musical 3: Senior Year, I had always anticipated 12th grade as one of the most exciting stages of my life. My classmates and I consider each other as family. We were supposed to go on a retreat together for a few days. We were looking forward to blasting music on the bus, singing loudly to keep the teachers awake. We were also going to get glam for our Hollywood-themed prom night. I was going to perform 'Adore You,' 'Valerie' and 'Sucker' alongside the school band. We were to watch a collection of our Instagram stories and random videos during our final moments together."—Faith De Leos, 18 (Manila, Philippines)

"My school has a Bridge program where we choose an internship or independent study to engage in for the final weeks of school. I was so excited to be working at a non-profit daycare center for children. When I found out that I no longer had that opportunity, I was devastated beyond belief. I can't believe my class won't be able to participate in Bridge, as it's been a tradition at my school for forever."—Alexis Horton, 18 (New York, New York)

"I was going to end my senior year by creating a collaborative performance with my peers. We were planning on working every day after school to put together a film and live dance performance. We never even got to start what we were going to do. I'm trying to move forward and continue my online seminars, but things are just so different. Everything is very strange, unsettling and uncertain."—Justine Denamiel, 17 (New York, New York)

"I come from a small school with only 21 students, so we all got to know each other really well. We were most excited about the commencement ceremony. We were going to exchange graduation photos with little notes in the back that we'd keep in our wallets throughout college. We were so excited to walk across the stage and receive the certificates we worked 12 years for, then say goodbye before moving on to another phase of our lives. Now, we're left bidding farewell through video calls, and it's not the same. We have no closure."—Martina Go, 18 (Manila, Philippines)

"Seniors at our school have a fun day where we decorate our uniforms and have a rampage through the school. It has been a tradition for many generations, and this will be the first year it's canceled. My prom was also taken away from me. My friends and I were going to rent a party bus to travel to and from the event in, and we were all going to have a sleepover that night. Due to the coronavirus, we don't even get to show off our dresses or enjoy one last dance as a group before college. Not to mention, the pandemic has made our school cancel our final senior mass, which was supposed to be a really special event for us. Working toward that moment for years and having it ripped away is one of the worst feelings ever."—Makana Michaud, 17 (Hamden, Connecticut)

"From the second senior year started, I waited for the day I got to pick out my prom dress. I went with my best friend and mom, and I chose this long, rose gold Jovani design. Prom has been something my friends and I have dreamed about since we were little and, just like that, it's gone."—Ariel Wiener, 17 (Melville, New York)

"My grade was supposed to fill the common space with balloons and blast music from a speaker on our last day. For spring break, I was going to take a trip with some of my closest school friends to Jamaica. These events were supposed to be a final hurrah before taking on the responsibilities that come with starting college and entering adulthood."—Becky Hershkowitz, 17 (New York, New York)

"We were just beginning to come up with ideas for our senior prank. We were thinking about parking our cars in a big circle and playing street games during class time, or even sending our parents instead of us to school one day! Also, I don't even know where I'm going to college yet. I'm trying to decide between four schools, and I've only visited one because I can't travel at the moment."—Jules Holland, 19 (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts)

"Our school told us that we're going to have some type of senior celebration that combines prom, senior dinner and commencement, but they don't know when. They said that they reserved dates in August and December at a venue but, looking down the line, that seems so far away. Plus, who knows if the social distancing guidelines will even be lifted by then?"—Julia Tremba, 18 (New York, New York)

"It's really heartbreaking to not be able to see my friends in the halls anymore. I participated in so many activities—from being in a dance ensemble to walking in fashion shows to managing the softball team—and to not share those last moments with my class hurts. I don't know if I'll ever get that chance again. I'm trying my best to push through and be happy because I'm healthy, but everything is just so sad."—Jordyn Sinclair, 18 (Teaneck, New Jersey)

How has the coronavirus affected you or any seniors you know? Comment below!

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by Carrie Berk | 4/29/2020
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