Teenage dream falling apart

Staff Editorial

Losing Homecoming for the second year in a row was not only disheartening, but it also represents the losses high- school students continue to face with COVID-19. The stereotypical high-school experience includes athletics, academics, the arts, parties, dances and friends. At the center of those things is self-discovery. The typical West Shore student might fit into this — with the exception of football games — but there is already a limited social culture compared to that of other schools. Our focal point is academics.

COVID-19 is even more constraining on the atypical student body, as there is no big emphasis on school spirit events. It seems that much of what is left to enjoy is homework and studying with no involvement in clubs or sports. With little to look forward to, students find themselves waiting for weekends to enjoy their regular lives. Even so, schoolwork takes up a significant part of that free time.

For the past two years, an emphasis was placed on what the graduating classes lost: Prom, traditional graduations and the chance to see all of their peers on campus. Those students were disappointed knowing the lost potential of their high-school finale. Currently, as the juniors move up to become seniors, younger students do not know what they are missing out on with no reference point.

The possibility of having a spring Prom remains undecided, and Powderpuff plans were unreliable leading up to the already restricted event. For many seniors, the feeling of drawing an incomplete circle before graduation evokes disappointment. Juniors are in their hardest year preparing for college admissions. They are trapped in limbo between graduating and being freshmen when the pandemic started.The sophomore class has yet to attend a high-school dance, and the odds for a dance this year and the following appear slim. Freshmen experienced the shock of transitioning from four 90-minute classes to a rigorous seven-period schedule when grades start to truly count on transcripts.

The high-school experience is becoming sand slipping between fingers. There may never be a moment when students can slow down and reflect when reminders of the stolen past constantly arise. Maturing holds less value when the rite of passage has vanished. 

Although a recurring theme is grieving over what was taken, there is room for a brighter future and to enjoy the present.

The pandemic has not stopped students from taking canceled school-sanctioned events into their own hands, made evident by alternative Homecoming events held off campus. Despite these events, they lack the same atmosphere as a conventional schoolwide event.

There is an obvious shift in what high school once was and the direction it is now going. It is time to examine how students are impacted in the absence of the events that help create a worthwhile high school experience.