Class of 2020 Recovers from COVID-19 Impact


Photo by Sophia Acevedo

Reese Smith & Sophia Acevedo, Staff Writer & Entertainment Editor

The football field is decorated with white chairs lined up row after row, each one filled with a familiar face. The principal stands atop a stage at the end of the chairs with a proud look on her face, as she begins to announce name after name. There isn’t a frowning face in sight, but why would there be, it’s graduation day, and everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be. 

BRRRRING! Your alarm blares and the dream disappears, along with the fantasy of receiving a normal graduation. 

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted nearly every social and academic aspect of the end of the class of 2020’s senior year. From a canceled senior ball to a 20 minute masked graduation, the end of their senior year was anything but traditional. “I think the hardest part of graduating and moving away during COVID-19 was that I never felt like I got to experience all of the normal endings of high school, so I felt like I was lacking closure before moving away from home,” 2020 graduate Aki Neugebauer said. 

March 16, 2020, 77 countries, including the United States, issued partial or total restrictions on entry to their nation. As border closures continued to spike and Bay Area shelter-in-place orders went into effect, many seniors were unable to attend with  highly anticipated senior graduation trips and college visits. “COVID-19 had a huge impact on my post-graduation plans,” Class of 2020 graduate Declan Curran said. “The summer of 2020, I was supposed to go to Europe with all my friends, but we were all on lockdown. I still got to travel locally, but it was nothing like what I wanted to experience after graduation.” 

Fortunately, on June 18, 2021, the U.S. was added to the European Union’s country approval list, ending the 15-month ban on travel from the U.S. to Europe.. Although it wasn’t classified as a “senior trip” anymore, Miramonte class of 2020 grads jumped on the opportunity to resume their former travel plans for post-graduation. “In the summer of 2021, I was able to visit Spain, Germany, and France. Although it wasn’t technically a grad-trip, it was still an incredible experience and a great way to finish my first year at the University of Washington,” Curran said. 

Universities across the nation, including the California State Universities (CSU) and Universities of California (UC), have announced their plans for a return to primarily in-person instruction starting in the fall of 2021. Though 2020 graduates will finally return to traditional schooling, many have mixed emotions regarding the return.  “This year my campus, [Loyola Marymount University], is back open and four out of five of my classes are in-person. I’m eager and excited to get back to in-person learning, but also super nervous as I’m not very familiar with the campus, and really just don’t know what to expect,” Neugebauer said. 

Several other students were enthusiastic to finally partake in their school’s traditions that they had not experienced yet. 2020 graduate Greg Austin shared his excitement to finally go to a Clemson football game and show his school pride. “Last year I didn’t really get the chance to partake in any school-related activities or go to an infamous Clemson football game due to coronavirus concerns and limited space. This year I’m really excited for the new season, as well as the chance to finally move into my dorm,” Austin said. 

As a current Miramonte student gazes out of their classroom window, they can’t help but reflect on the class of 2020’s graduation. With a summer in lockdown and cancellations for practically all their senior activities, the student can’t help but feel grateful that their graduation will have a bit more normalcy. However, the student remembers all the great memories that the class of 2020 shared at Miramonte prior to the pandemic, and they feel a sense of relief. The class of 2020 may have not received a full senior year and post-graduation experience, but they most definitely enjoyed their time at Miramonte.