As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, seniors tend to reminisce about their high school years. From their first steps on the Naples High campus in 2017 to a worldwide pandemic, the class of 2021 experienced unforgettable moments that made their high school experience unlike any other.
“I think my senior year has been the most enjoyable [year],” senior Mckenna Seward said. “Covid has made it different, but I’m glad I’m able to be at school with my friends. The senior class got really close this year, and we’ve had so many opportunities to bond and make the best of it.”
The coronavirus pandemic crushed all expectations of the stereotypical high school experience normally seen in movies, but that didn’t stop students from enjoying every last bit of their High School Musical fantasy. Before the outbreak many school-sponsored activities such as field trips and parties, were tradition for seniors.
“My favorite moments from high school were Friday night football games,” Seward said. “I love cheering for the team and watching the student section have fun; it’s one thing that brought everyone from Naples High together.”
Of course, many high school expectations from middle school were either met or let down due to the sudden COVID-19 outbreak.
“Yes, [my expectations] were met,” senior Nicholas Bel said. “Some of the staff were nice and helpful, and I made many friends along the way to help me through the years – special shoutout to Quizlet.”
Despite the restrictions of a pandemic, the senior class made their year the best they could through big gestures and memorable moments. Many are looking back at memories when life was considerably normal.
“Some kid jumped off the roof into the fountain on the last day – which I do not condone – but it made me happy because it made other people happy,” senior Chase Melton said. “It felt like that was this student’s way of expressing his own happiness at the school year coming to a close.”
High school is a formative time for students, as they often learn more about themselves through various experiences, whether that be in the classroom or pertaining to social life.
With such obstacles comes change, which is seen in many seniors after their time in high school.
“I came out of high school completely changed; senior year me has different politics, academic interest and even sexuality,” Melton said. “You never know what high school will be like, and to an extent, it’s different for everyone. Some advice: never expect to stay the same.”
There is much to learn from change, as well. Life lessons are typically learned in high school social situations, which allows one to learn and grow, and is a key part to maturing.
Aside from maturity, many also learn lessons that can be applied to school and work life.
“Take time for yourself. Everyone says it, not enough people do it,” Melton said. “Even if you’re busier than you’ve ever been—force yourself to do something relaxing. You’ll thank me.”
Even through various obstacles and the difficulty of high school, many seniors are ready to move on to the next big step in life, namely, college.
“Throughout my four years here, I have managed to stay on top of my school work and keep my grades up all while balancing cheer, work, and a social life,” Seward said. “When it came to applying for colleges, I applied super early to get it done and was accepted into each school I applied to.”
Of course, moving on to such a monumental time in life is not something usually done alone. With the help of teachers, friends and family, seniors have had support systems and forms of guidance to help them throughout the way.
“My best friends are my biggest influence,” Melton said. “They’ve held my hand through some really tough times, but I suppose that’s different for everyone too.”
As the seniors’ high school career officially comes to a close, they have left their legacies behind with sincere advice for underclassmen and rising seniors.
“Don’t slack off and get hit with senioritis early in the year,” Bel said. “ Do all of your work, because if colleges see you slack off, they can take away your acceptance.”
Apart from the academic aspect of senior year, cherishing these special moments is the most important advice of them all.
“Some advice I would give to underclassmen for senior year is to enjoy it while it lasts,” Seward said. “High school truly does fly by, as cheesy and cliche as it sounds, but senior year comes and goes in an instant. Enjoy everything that comes your way and do whatever makes you happy while you’re still here.”