One last time

Students want an extension for activities


Photo by Gabriel Parades

Last year I qualified for State after a very successful year of Journalism. My senior year I couldn’t wait to continue to better myself and make it to State again. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to go to the physical competition.

Kaitlyn Willard, Editor-in-Chief

Waking up on March 12, I didn’t realize that day may have been my last time coming to school early for before-school meetings, stepping foot in certain classrooms and seeing my peers in a school setting. As a senior, I knew my high school memories were coming to a close, but I didn’t expect everything to end so abruptly. I think I speak for not only most seniors but most students, staff and even parents when I say I am willing to give up a portion of summer to partake in the festivities I missed out on in the last nine weeks of my senior year.

I have been remaining hopeful during this trying time. People are constantly saying how they feel sorry that I won’t be able to go to my senior Prom, have a graduation party or even graduate. I try to brush the negativity off and continue being optimistic, but it’s hard to do so when it seems like so many teenagers and adults are telling me otherwise.

While NSAA’s most recent statement has changed saying all activities are canceled through the school year, on March 16, NSAA released a statement saying all activities will be suspended until May 1. Many parents chimed in on this statement on the NSAA Twitter account. While some parents were thankful that they didn’t cancel all activities for the remainder of the year, others were saying ‘well why don’t you just cancel the season at this point?’. 

As not only an athlete but a student-journalist who had plans to go to State Journalism in April as well, comments like these infuriated me. This is my last year running track, my last year competing at a state level for journalism and my last year being in high school. Before April, I was looking forward to possibly still being able to do the activities I have been looking forward to all year. It was giving me hope.

I did not run multiple miles a day for someone to say ‘just cancel the season’. Obviously, I’m writing for the CATalyst right now, meaning I’m not giving up producing content and editing stories because my activities are canceled. To keep sanity, I’m trying to make a horrible situation as normal as possible (which is proving to be a difficult task). I would give anything to run eight laps around the track in a meet. I would give anything to be stressed and under the tight deadline of printing the quarterly newspaper. I would give anything to sit through an hour and a half long class instead of learning from my computer. If events have to extend into the break, I’m willing to give up my summer for that.

Of course, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m not going to be ignorant in this situation. I know this is for the safety of everyone. But, if it becomes safe to do so, I just want at least one more day to step foot in Millard West, my home away from home for the past four years. 

However, in my humble opinion, I think the government is taking action far too quickly. While writing this, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that students are not allowed in school buildings until May 31; I am done with physical school. As we have seen, everything can drastically change in a month. So why jump the gun so far in advance? It’s the beginning of April. We have so much time. Making a final decision on the first of May as to whether students will be going back to school or not makes sense and seems rational. No one can be certain as to what the future holds. So why are we choosing to end everything so quickly? 

To be slightly selfish, I want my senior year to be as normal as possible. Hear me out? What if we extend the season, whether that be sports seasons or extracurriculars? Having a modified season during the summer would not only fulfill but exceed my expectations. 

As a senior, this is my plea to hold off on cancelations. Be patient and wait. I understand it’s safety precautions, but as of now, nothing can be certain. Rather than cancel events so far in advance, we should take things week by week. I would rather graduate in June or July than get my diploma emailed to me in May and not have a true ceremony. This is what I have been working towards for the past 13 years; this is the moment I have dreamt of. I don’t want everything to be taken away from me. I’ll be patient and wait to walk the stage during my summer break if that means an authentic graduation experience.