GHS Class of 2020 ‘rolls with the punches’
By Travis Hairgrove | Herald-Banner Staff
When the students of Greenville ISD first heard that their spring break would be extended from one week to two weeks — to reduce the possibility that they might come into contact with the coronavirus — many of them were probably excited to get “an extra week off.”
But, when those two weeks off became three weeks — and now a planned eight weeks off with distance learning plans and procedures — high school seniors in particular are faced with having a senior year that’s quite different than what they’ve perhaps looked forward to for their entire academic careers.
“It’s been kind of bittersweet,” senior Jackson Woodruff told the Herald-Banner. At first we were happy to get an extra week off for spring break, but now, we want to go back, especially when we’re going to miss Floor Show (an annual Flaming Flashes dance team and band show, that’s now an almost 90-year tradition) and we’re not going to have the ‘High School Musical’ type senior year that we hoped for.
“A lot of us are upset, but, like Forrest Gump says, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get,’ so we just gotta roll with the punches,” Woodruff added.
For now, Greenville High School’s teachers and staff plan still plan to organize a proper, in-person prom and graduation ceremony, even if they end up having to delay them into the summer.
“We were going to have our prom on April 11, but because of school closures continuing to May 4, we have rescheduled it for May 28,” said prom coordinator and volleyball coach Jenna Sickels. “But, [Principal Heath] Jarvis has said that we’re definitely going to have prom for these kids, even if we have to have it in June in the gym.”
The disruption to the district’s usual activities has also required the students who work on their schools’ yearbooks to alter their planned layouts and continue their work from home.
“My kids who are in yearbook have been working from home, and we’re working on a ‘quarantine section,’ where they’re asking their classmates to send photos of their activities while in quarantine and doing school work from home,” GHS yearbook/student council director and English teacher Kiley Austin said.
“One of the hardest things about this year is that we told our kids, ‘see you after spring break’ when they got out, but we haven’t gotten to say our goodbyes yet,” Austin added. “However, I know it sounds weird, but if this had to happen during any senior year, I’m glad it’s this one, because this group of kids has proven to be resilient and has handled it like adults.”
Despite being on edge about how their end of k-12 education might look, many GHS seniors are using their time in quarantine as a time for self improvement.
“This is a good time to prepare for college life, and practice adult responsibilities like cooking and cleaning,” Woodruff, who was recently accepted into Baylor University, said. “It’s also been a great chance to cherish more time spent with family.”