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  • Writer's pictureIsa Luzarraga

A bittersweet goodbye

Reflecting on their legacies, seniors prepare to end year with unconventional celebrations

Most seniors envision their last month of high school as a melancholy farewell to their adolescent selves complete with graduation parties, prom pictures, and college decisions.

The four years of toil are worth it to finally hold a blue leather-clad diploma, a symbol for the closing of a chapter and the starting of another.

However, like most aspects of the Class of 2021’s last year, ‘unprecedented’ times result in necessary changes.

“Since senior year was something, a lot of people have been looking forward to since their freshmen year, it's disappointing that it can't be like how they have been in the past,” senior class board member Anne Shubert said. “But, I'm also happy that there are ways that we can try to make it a little more normal and still have the senior experience, although it's a non-traditional one.”

While the Senior Class Board (SCB) and administration are trying to preserve the typical end-of-the-year activities, alterations to events like prom, senior honors night, and graduation have already been made.

“We wanted to provide a special event for our Class of 2021 seniors especially since all activities were cancelled last spring,” assistant principal Susan Marlatt said. “Knowing that we still have limitations with safety precautions, it was important to get feedback from seniors.”

2021’s senior-only prom on May 1 will be devoid of dancing, last two hours, and stay true to its formal dress code. SCB representatives said social-distanced games and contests will replace time on the dance floor and senior superlatives will also be announced throughout the night.

“I’ll be trying to attend every single [event], especially the senior prom because I was never able to go last year,” senior Bryan Cervantes said. “I'm very excited to get a somewhat normal prom as well as joining in many graduation parties to celebrate our achievements and successes.”

Following prom, senior honors night will undergo some adjustments and be held on May 13. Administrators and SCB said this might be held digitally, either synchronously via Zoom or asynchronously through a pre-recorded video.

“As a board, we’ll try our best to still make it fun while taking precautions,” Shubert said. “I'm looking forward to reminiscing the memories that we've made, and am probably looking forward the most to planning the actual graduation.”

For the graduation ceremony on May 29 at Baxter Arena, each student is limited to four tickets. The commencement ceremony is set to be run as normally as possible while maintaining social distancing.

“It's a relief given the past two years have been difficult for everyone,” Cervantes said. “Now that high school is coming to an end, I've obtained one of my many goals in life which was achieving a high school diploma. I look forward to our ceremony and seeing all the people I learned and grew up with.”

In addition to adapting to end-of-the-year modifications, seniors said they are beginning to reflect on their legacy at MN.

“As I leave high school, I want to be remembered as someone who was always up for a challenge,” Shubert said. “I figured I could be involved in a lot and be fine because I wasn't going to give up. By doing that I've been successful, and I figure that's a good thing to be remembered by.”

Others note their personal growth and resilience that lead them to graduation.

“I want to be remembered as the kid that went to MN freshman year having to drive 30 minutes to school and back,” Cervantes said. “As I progressed with my academics and athletic career, things started working out in my favor. I moved closer to school, took harder classes, and earned a role on the varsity [soccer] team. I was the kid that didn't give up when times got hard.”

When the Class of 2021 finally holds their embossed diplomas, their time as a Mustang will come to a close. And despite the academic, activity-related, and end-of-the-year changes, the perseverance of MN seniors represent a legacy worthy of remembering.

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