The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Class of 2024: Corona’s Graduation

Zach Ross

March 13, 2020. The day when schools across the world shut down for a “two-week break.”

Four years later, the initial COVID-19 lockdown has surpassed its disastrous anniversary. Keeping kids out of school for months, coronavirus is now ready for its own high school graduation.

The class of 2024 are some of the last students whose high school careers were affected by the pandemic. With our freshman year beginning August of 2020, the lasting effects of this disease have truly shaped the last four years.

The first major change that occurred was transitioning from in-person instruction to virtual school. While this was “the best solution” at the time, it caused so many students to not fully grasp the complex subjects of pre-AP Biology or human geography.

Because of these virtual classes, lots of students also got behind in their work, as many people’s cameras were not turned on during these meets. It was much easier to skip out on class than to force ourselves to wake up and stare at a screen for hours a day.

Let’s just say that COVID-19 wasn’t exactly the world’s best classmate. A lack of motivation, a mental health influx, and spending endless hours on TikTok were all consequences that were birthed in light of COVID’s shenanigans.

Even before the shenanigans of high school occurred, the class of 2024 felt the initial aches of the pandemic while we were still in eighth grade. The media had already warped our vision of what high school was going to be like, but now COVID-19 put a pause to our transition period.

We grew up on the giddy tunes of High School Musical, imagining that’s what high school was truly like. However, our “start of something new” included a deadly pandemic.

And, while you could say ‘we were all in it together,’ the initial lockdown phase became a time riddled with comparison, thanks to an excess of time for surfing the internet. To make matters worse, everyone was subject to one of the worst fashion ‘trends’ of the 21st century.

I’m talking about masks. When the class of 2024 was able to make contact for the first time since the first lockdown, we couldn’t even truly see the entirety of some of our closest friends and classmates due to the inhibiting masks.

Finally, halfway through our sophomore year, we were given the opportunity to free ourselves of those face masks and life suddenly felt normal again. Well, semi-normal that is.

You see, a teenager doesn’t go through a pandemic and is able to automatically resume the life they once lived. After all, we didn’t have full control over our own acne, so how were we supposed to have control over anything else when all we knew for the past 9 months was watching a computer screen?

To be quite frank, the Class of 2024 was sick. Not with coronavirus, but with PTSD: Pandemic-Teenager Stress Disorder. Having very little access to extracurriculars, classes, and clubs during the lockdown, everything came crashing down all at once.

All of a sudden, we were expected to know how to do everything, know where everything was, and be functioning members of society, when those expectations hadn’t been required of us for months.

Eventually, life started to resume to our preconceived notions of normal, and the Class of 2024 managed to have students go on to win competitions, perform in shows, play in championship games, and truly just try to be the best students we can be.

In fact, maybe our class wouldn’t have been as great as we are without the help of coronavirus. The lockdown allowed for time to hone special skills, and it truly made the class of 2024 one of the most talented classes to have walked the halls of GRC.

So while that PTSD may still be fresh upon the minds of many seniors graduating, we are welcoming the graduation of COVID-19 with open arms. The past four years have been filled with transitioning back to normal, and we are glad to put the pandemic behind us.

Now that we are officially graduates, we can tell ourselves that we conquered everything COVID threw our way, We can firmly stand #ALLIN as the graduating Class of 2024.

The Class of 2024 made it after a strange start as freshmen (Photo by Smoke Signals)
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About the Contributor
Zach Ross
Zach Ross, Features Editor
Once upon a time, a baby was introduced into the world. Fast forward 17 years, and you may find that this baby has grown into being a very talented, amazing, and awesome Features Editor. That baby grew up to be Zach Ross. In those 17 years of life, Zach has experienced the joys of dinosaurs, Broadway, Backyardigans, and Smoke Signals. And though he was once a baby, uncertain of the world ahead of him, he found a signal in the smoke and everything became clear. With every good story, there is a beginning and an end. The beginning was birth, and the end is Smoke Signals.

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