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story.lead_photo.caption California High School Photo by David Wilson / California Democrat.

With a less than typical senior year nearing its end, a handful of California High School's class of 2020 have shared their thoughts on how the coronavirus has affected the end of their high school experience.

Though most are upset that their senior year has been canceled, they are still staying positive and hoping for the best.

Spencer Messerli

Spencer Messerli

"COVID-19 has affected me a lot. Not getting to see my friends and family as much is hard and tends to get boring. I do miss attending school. School wasn't bad at all, and I enjoyed seeing my friends and teachers, plus it kept me busy. I was involved in track and I was looking forward for the season. I was also involved in DECA, and we couldn't go to state due to the virus. Homework isn't really that bad — you can get a lot of it done in about an hour or so. The main thing I'm worried about is graduation. It's hard knowing you spent 12 years of your life just to walk across the stage and then hear you might not get that. It's just not fair. And me and some other students are joining the military and that has affected our shipping dates as well. I hope all this gets cleared up soon."

Paige Lamm

Paige Lamm

"As seniors, we have been looking forward to the last few months of the school year. We have been looking forward to prom, project grad, baseball season, our last day and especially graduation. Little did we know, we would be leaving our classmates and teachers in March without a proper goodbye. We were supposed to have a few more months where we created our last and best memories together. COVID-19 has cut our senior year short, but we can only hope for the best and stay positive."

Kendall Kirksey

Kendall Kirksey

"Being at California High School has been great. I moved here in eighth grade and made friends quickly. I was really looking forward to my senior year here. The first semester of my senior year was really fun. I went to sectionals for golf, cheered in the student section for the homecoming game, had fun in student council and enjoyed my time with friends. COVID-19 has affected me a lot because I am no longer able to see my friends. I think all of us seniors had an idea of how we wanted our senior year to go, and this was definitely not what we expected. It's kind of crazy to think that a worldwide pandemic has prevented seniors around the world from spending the rest of their year at school. I really do miss going to school, too. I never thought I would say that before now, but here we are. I think that it's important for all of us seniors to remain positive about what we're going through. Yeah, it sucks, but we'll make it through. I'm just hoping that everyone stays safe throughout it all."

Hailey Schepers

Hailey Schepers

"Similar to most people, the outbreak of COVID-19 has completely changed my everyday routine. When I imagined my last few months of high school, I never would have guessed I would be spending them stuck at home doing online classes. It was a difficult transition and I struggled at first. The reality of not getting to spend those expected last few months of high school with the friends I had grown up with and the amazing teachers and staff I had gotten to know the past four years hit hard. It was a decision made in a few days that the Class of 2020 could do nothing to prepare (for). Many of my classmates were very active in school organizations and spring sports. For most, the commitment to these were equivalent to having a part-time job. The idea of not being able to have that last contest season, those last games and track meets, or saying goodbye to our fellow officers and teammates is what we all were dreading. We wanted these last few months to make our last impact, accomplish the goals we made for ourselves as freshman, break and to enjoy the time with our friends before we had to become adults. As an officer and an active contest member in Student Council, FFA, FBLA, DECA and Sounds of Joy, those last competitions and finishing the end of year duties as officers were the moments I had been looking forward to the most.

Spring was always my favorite part of the school year. I loved the busyness, the long hours practicing, competing and the sleep deprivation that was sure to come. Right now, our choir was supposed to be in New York, experiencing the once in a lifetime opportunity of singing at Carnegie Hall. Fortunately, the trip has been rescheduled for next year, and while the seniors will not be able to attend, we are all happy for our fellow choir members and are excited to hear every detail when they return. Aside from the 'lasts' that will be missed out on and not being able to see friends and extended family, there have, surprisingly, been a few good things that have come out of quarantine. I have run out of excuses to do (some) much-needed projects around the house and have been able to spend more time focusing on my own health, my faith and my family. I can honestly say I have spent more time at home this past month than I have these past four years. Among school, my extracurricular obligations and a part-time job, I was lucky to be able to spend an hour with my family. Now, I don't even know if I've spent an hour away from my family, and while there is definitely more bickering involved, I'm so thankful to have them during this time as they have been there through it all.

The Class of 2020 is still holding out hope that we will have a prom at some point before next fall, and we want nothing more than to walk across the stage and be handed the diploma that has been thirteen years in the making. We want to be able to share that moment with the people we have grown up with and to have our loved ones in the stands watching us end this chapter before we start of next. Overall, the most important thing is the health of our community, and the Class of 2020 is grateful for the lengths the school board and staff have made to make these time easier for us all. Our teachers and counselors have had to put in extra work and have adapted to the situation as gracefully as possible. Thank you to everyone that has kept our class in your thoughts and prayers — we appreciate your support."

Alyssa Sabartinelli

Alyssa Sabartinelli

"This virus has affected me more than I ever thought it would. One moment this virus is just a rumor talked about at school, and the next it's my reality. I have always been someone who likes to be busy and have something to do so in that aspect, my life has changed a lot. For me, senior year had already been pretty rough, and I had no idea how rough it was about to get. The end of the school year had been filled with events I had waited for all year, and some even my whole high school career. I was supposed to be in New York City (April 16-22). I was going to get to sing in Carnegie Hall with my choir and choirs across the country, and losing that hit pretty hard. But since being out, I have realized that I miss being in the classroom, singing and preparing for concerts and contests more than a trip. I miss the memories I was supposed to make for the last time. This year, we already had our Christmas Concert canceled, so hearing everything we had been preparing for wasn't going to happen was really devastating. The adjustment has been pretty up and down. The hardest part is the realization that the end of my high school career has come faster than I was prepared for. I didn't get to have the proper last day of school to release all of my goodbyes and internal attachments. At this point, I would just like to push past the things I am missing and start the new chapter of my life. Homework has been okay for the most part. The majority of my classes are college classes that I did not have a teacher for anyway, although I have missed my teachers, and I haven't been able to properly thank them for all they have done for me not only educationally but also personally.

This pandemic has also taught me a lot and had some benefits. It has taught me to not take for granted the freedoms and opportunities that I have. It made me realize that I truly might not see some of my classmates again and any problems I may have had don't mean anything in the long run. It really opened my eyes to what matters and how holding on to past problems only weighs me down. All of us seniors are feeling the same thing, and it is something we can only understand, so it's important for us to support each other. This quarantine has also allowed me to spend more time with my family before I move out and start the next chapter of my life. So although I am sad that I will be missing senior traditions, close friends and my normal freedoms, these experiences have taught me some very important lessons. Our community has been so supportive of the senior class, and I could not thank them enough. Life can change in seconds, so live every minute of it like it could be the last time it happens and love every second. My hope is that this all ends soon, and we all come out stronger."

Lucia Embry

Lucia Embry

"My stance on what's going on is I understand that it's what's for the best — the schools closing and the stay-at-home order and everything, I understand that's what needs to happen, I just hate that it has to happen. I really miss being at school, like home school is not for me. I just had such great relationships with all my teachers and counselors, so I just miss being able to talk to them and have those conversations and relationships. I was a part of DECA and FBLA. I qualified for state in both clubs. FBLA was supposed to start yesterday, so if none of this would've happened I would be in Springfield right now with the rest of my team. I'm really hoping, I don't think there's been any word yet on a new graduation date, but I just want there to be something. I don't care what it has to be, I just want my parents and brothers to be able to watch me cross the stage, and I would love for the rest of my family to be there. If worst comes to worst, I at least want my parents and brothers there. I think all of the seniors are kind of going through it with this and so I think we're all just being there to support each other, and that's the most important thing."

 

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