COVID-19 Tampers with Senior Traditions

While senior year—particularly second semester—is often a time of celebration, culminating activities, and other memories, the Class of 2021’s experience has been markedly different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior lunches have been swapped for drive-thrus and drive-bys, while the exuberance of rally competitions and athletic events have been wiped out entirely.

“I was so excited to be the ‘big dogs on campus’ and have all my hard work from over the years pay off by being rewarded with fun senior activities,” said senior Sadie Habas. “I was also excited to hang out with the people I’ve known since kindergarten for 1 final year and just have closure to the life I’ve known in Moraga for the past 18 years.”

The Leadership class has been working to make this final semester memorable for seniors. According to senior class president Noel Seo, the “major goals this semester [are] to plan an amazing senior ball and graduation,” but events “really depend on COVID levels in our community and efficiency of vaccine distribution.

Although the administration barred all in-person events in January, Leadership is “pushing for more food drive-thrus in February,” Seo said. The class is also starting to plan barbecues, arcades, hamster ball events, outdoor movies, and spike-ball tournaments for seniors.

“If hybrid learning and sports are happening we will have a lot more freedom with these celebrations,” said Seo.

1 milestone that many seniors missed was Junior Prom, which was slated to take place in April 2020, about a month after AUHSD schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, they remain hopeful for Senior Ball celebrations.

“I was…looking forward to senior ball, especially because we didn’t get prom,” said senior Justine Ellery. “I’m hoping that ball can still happen in some form, though, if it is safe.”

“Even if [Senior Ball] is canceled, I plan on buying a long dress and taking pictures for fun,” said Habas.

Seo said that “an indoor ball is unlikely,” the current “best case scenario is [a] socially-distanced outdoor ball with small groups.”

ASB Spirit Commissioner senior Maxwell Weaver added that “it honestly all depends on the pandemic and how the numbers are,” but Leadership is “hoping to at least do something virtually that people can kind of join in on.”

Student-athletes have also been disappointed to miss out on their senior seasons. “I hope we can play in the spring, as I’d love to fulfill my role as captain,” said Ellery, who plays tennis. “So far, it’s been really hard to get the team together, and as a captain, there are so many things that I want to do to help the program evolve, but my hands have been tied because of the pandemic.”

Weaver said, “[Not having] a senior year for football and basketball has been a big bummer for me. I’ve been playing basketball with some of these guys since 2nd grade, and I’ve been playing other sports and football with my teammates too since I was a kid.”

“I’m still hopeful that we’ll have some sort of season in the spring but that’s the biggest one for me—just sports and the big socialization part,” said Weaver.

While Habas said she was particularly sad to lose Junior Prom, a final homecoming dance, fall football games, rallies, and senior trips like the annual Yosemite Institute, she is “looking forward to some feeling of normalcy through the hybrid schedule once COVID gets better as well as some form of graduation.”

“I feel like there has just been so much loss this past year that I still can’t wrap my head around, and COVID-19 blues are still very prevalent,” said Habas. “I really hope COVID gets better this semester so that the hybrid schedule can take place as well as any social events. I would love to see some distanced events out together where the seniors can bond with underclassmen. And, it would be my dream to have a proper graduation in June.”

Seo and Weaver encourage seniors to follow Leadership’s Instagram accounts, @camporedc and @campoclassof2021 for updates, polls, reminders, virtual events, and videos from the rally leaders. The class will also be “posting regularly on @campocollege2021 to showcase the achievements and college decisions” of the Class of 2021.