MHS seniors reflect on early end to school year

Gabriel Wright

Carly Hayen
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Schools across Iowa would are closed now for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). That means a very early end to the school year; the last time Monticello students were in the classroom was March 13.

     While most students will go back to school in the fall (or earlier) for the start of the 2020-21 school year, the high school seniors saw an abrupt end to their last year of high school. No more sports. No more music or arts. No senior skip day. No more senior year memories.

     The Monticello Express reached out to some MHS seniors to hear directly from them about the early end to their high school career, what they’re doing in the interim, and what they’ll miss the most as they look ahead to their future.

Gabriel Wright

     Wright hilariously admitted that his first thought after school got out on March 13 was that Spring Break wasn’t long enough.

     “The longer break was awesome,” he said. “But I never gave much thought to what would happen after Spring Break.”

     Wright’s mother, Amy, is a healthcare worker at MercyOne in Dubuque. Wright said his mom “felt strongly that we were not going to go back (to school).” He was prepared when the Governor announced the closure of schools.

     For Wright, some of the major events and activities he’s missing out on include: Prom, the spring play, the band/choir trip to Disney World in Florida, and State Jazz.

     “My other events I don’t feel as if I missed out on them since I hadn’t started getting ready for them,” explained Wright.

     When asked for ideas for prom or graduation, Wright was honest in saying so many precautions will have to be made to make both events safe for everyone.

     “At this point of the pandemic, there is not going to be a ‘perfectly safe’ option because we will never know what is going to happen with the virus,” he said. “Current practices will be needed and then some to stay safe.”

     As for not completing his senior year, Wright said he’s on the fence about it all. He didn’t really want to see his last year of high school end like this, but with no control over the situation, he said there’s nothing anyone can do about it. “Why fret over it?”

     With some extra free time on his hands, Wright has been putting in extra time at work at Dollar General in Cascade. He’s working more hours right now due to the increase in customers.

     “I am considered an essential worker,” Wright said. “I have been called into work numerous times to assist in keeping up with the demand.”

     Like other seniors, Wright admitted it’s been hard to stay motivated to do school work from home, despite having plenty of time to do so. He’s finding himself playing video games, getting some sleep, and working more.

     Once the fall semester begins for college, Wright plans to attend Iowa State University for computer science.

Carly Hayen

     Hayen said after March 13, she was pretty excited for Spring Break, and a literal break from school.

     “But when I heard schools were closed, I just had a little hope that we could go back just for one last day,” she said. “I never would have thought we would never go back.”

     Hayen said it’s heartbreaking because the seniors no longer have the closure of formally finishing their senior year now. “I know our class will make the most of it.”

     Like Wright, Hayen will also miss her prom. In addition to that, Senior Honors Night and “spending last moments with my classmates.”

     If the COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow for a traditional prom or graduation, Hayen would like to see a drive-in graduation at Dean Nelson Field or the fairgrounds for everyone to attend and see everyone graduate while maintaining social distancing. As for prom, she pictures an outdoor event comprised of just MHS juniors and seniors. If that’s not possible, at the minimum Hayen would like to see the post prom gifts given out to students regardless.

     Hayen did dedicate time to completing her Kirkwood community College classes.

     “It was not hard to find the time to do it,” she said, “but it is hard to have the motivation to do it.” Seems to be a theme among the seniors.

     In addition, Hayen is enjoying the nice weather by spending a lot of time outdoors exercising, fishing, hiking, and taking walks. She’s also been doing different types of crafts.

     Hayen was working at Oak Street Manufacturing, but was laid off due to COVID-19. So she’s been offering to babysit instead.

     In the fall, Hayen plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa for communication sciences and disorders. She hopes to become a speech-language pathologist.

     “I am hoping we get to go to college in the fall,” said Hayen.


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