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High school seniors reflect on lost year

April 23, 2020

By David Nordby

The Brillion News

In mid-March, seniors left their high schools not knowing when or if they would return or what activities would be lost.

Now a month later, the COVID-19 pandemic has officially put an end to the possibility of experiencing longstanding senior traditions. Prom dresses won’t be worn, senior field trips won’t be taken, sports won’t be played, senior pranks won’t be concocted.

“I feel like … you go through school with the goal of senior year. Every time you have a challenging day in school, teachers just say this is all for your diploma and you can have fun your senior year and because of this pandemic, we got that taken away from us. Many of us experienced our ‘lasts’ without knowing that they were our lasts,” Brillion senior Ethan Zickert said.

Elly Zipperer, a Reedsville senior, said that when schools were first stopped, she thought “finally a break.” But now, she says, she tries not to think about the irregular situation.

“I feel like I am missing out on my last opportunity to do literally everything. I did not know my last day of school was my last day of school or that the last time that I would race to school to avoid being late was my last time. There are so many lasts that we are all missing that we take for granted,” Zipperer said.

Lockers have already been cleaned out.

“It all felt so surreal. I didn’t think I’d be cleaning out my locker like it was my last day of high school … in March. I was pretty heartbroken initially,” Morgan Behnke said.

Behnke would have been in her final season as a track and field participant and a leader in Project Unify.

“I’m really missing organizing and planning for our end-of-theyear events,” she said.

Other Brillion students, like Behnke, would have been in track and field. Paul Berglund said it has been the most disappointing part of the lost year for him.

“Missing the season is a big disappointment,” Berglund said. “That team will truly be missed,” Katie Kietzer said.

Zickert is a part of the yearbook staff and says that will miss taking photos of sports that help document history.

Zipperer would have been on Reedsville’s track and field team. She was also set to be a participant in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) state competition that she qualified for at regionals and is a member of National Honor Society.

Her Panther classmate Emily Cohan would have been on the softball team, in the class play and was a member of Reedsville Future Farmers of America (FFA).

“I can’t have the last quarter to say goodbye to [the] school that has helped shape me and I can’t have those events that come towards the end of the year,” Cohan said.

While going through their normal school days, students had the structure of the school system that they’ve grown accustomed to for years.

“I really miss the daily interactions with teachers and friends, as well as the normal routine of school. Not being able to have our normal conversations face-to-face is hard,” Behnke said.

That sentiment is echoed by other students. “My friends and classmates are what I miss the most. It went from going to school with them since I was four to it ending so suddenly,” Kietzer said. “This was hard because I didn’t get to do the few last things in this last trimester I wanted to do to end our relationship.

“I can’t get those day-to-day interactions with them that I took for granted,” Zipperer said.

Normal hours have also quickly fallen by the wayside.

“When given the opportunity, I will definitely screw up my sleep schedule,” Berglund said.

Social time outside of school hours is gone too.

“I also miss just seeing people in general and doing anything I want to have some fun with my friends,” Kietzer added.

Please see the complete story in the April 23, 2020 edition of The Brillion News.


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