A Different Kind of Closure: Seniors Will Leave High School Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

Pictured%3A+Senior+Amelia+Bronfman+doing+school+work+at+home.+

Photo Courtesy of Amelia Bronfman

Pictured: Senior Amelia Bronfman doing school work at home.

Siroun Johnson, Contributing Writer

At 6:57 PM on a Thursday afternoon, students in the Cambridge Public School System received an email from the school administration stating, “Cambridge Public Schools will close at the end of the school day on Friday, March 13.” Since then, the closure that was originally supposed to last two weeks was first extended to three weeks and now has been extended until the end of the school year. The email sent out on March 12th prompted dramatic change for all CPS community members, but one group of students has been particularly affected: CPS’s seniors.

“For seniors, we had no closure. We had an abrupt last day of school with the promise of coming back in two weeks, and now it’s unlikely we will ever return as students of CRLS,” said Olivia Shirley ’20, co-captain of the girls crew team. “Most of us had no goodbyes. We didn’t even get a chance to see our spring sports teams one last time, as school was canceled right before they could start.” Many seniors have been playing sports for the entirety of their high school careers and were expecting the upcoming spring season to be their last, a conclusion to the memories that they have built over the past four years. Shirley said, “I understand why sports were canceled, but it is still an incredible disappointment.”

As well as their final season of sports, the seniors have had to let go of classic American end-of-high school rituals. Anaka Landrigan ’20 said, “I am super sad about prom and graduation [likely] being canceled. Those are some of the last times that the majority of the grade and all your friends get to be together, and it’s disappointing that it’s being taken away from us.” Shirley agreed, saying, “The senior class is missing out on classic American milestones, and that makes the transition into college even more bittersweet.”

The senior class is missing out on classic American milestones, and that makes the transition into college even more bittersweet.”

— Olivia Shirley '20

School closures also have had a big impact on the spoon game, the game many seniors play beginning in March. The spoon game, just like prom and graduation, is a tradition at CRLS that is often seen as a right of passage for seniors who are soon to graduate. The fact that the game must take place during the closure is a let down to many seniors who were expecting the rowdy, in-person spoon game to be a sweet finale to high school. Shirley told the Register Forum, “After a few days into quarantine, I stopped caring about the spoon game. It’s not all that interesting to wander around your house with a spoon just in case someone pops by, and it’s a pain to keep track of a spoon during video chats. The spoon game has certainly lost its intrigue.” Landrigan says, “It’s still going, but it’s not the same.” 

Through all of this misfortune, some seniors, like Amelia Bronfman ‘20, have decided to wholly accept their fate. “At this point, I have accepted that school and sports and everything I do will be canceled or incomplete this year.” Others, like Landrigan, have decided to make the most of it: “I do miss school-related activities and being able to see my friends every day, but I have also been able to take advantage of the extra time and work on different skills and hobbies that I always really wanted to try. Life is a lot less busy now and while it isn’t due to the best circumstances I’m trying to use it to my advantage.” Shirley is also trying to take a positive stance, saying that she is still in contact with her crew team and that they encourage each other to stay fit every day.

One question is still left hanging in the air, though. What will happen for seniors going to college next fall? Bronfman said, “I am hoping it won’t get canceled, but I am scared school in the fall could get postponed.” Some seniors are planning on taking gap years if the quarantine extends into next school year so that they can get the full, on-campus experience of college with their money. Bronfman said worriedly, “I just want to go to college,” a sentiment shared by many seniors at CRLS and around the world.