Did I Already Graduate?


DHS Press Staff

Feeling like he graduated on March 12, 2020, Calvin explains how he empty this year feels to him.

It feels like I graduated March 12th, 2020. I am currently in what is supposed to be the greatest year of my high school experience, senior year. But since school closed last spring, I don’t think I have even once felt connected to Dominion.

Where are the yard signs, senior meetings, and pep rallies? What happened to finishing strong?

Right now, it feels like I am simply surviving school until I can get my diploma and leave this place for good. Without any of the community aspects of school, without anything remotely celebratory or fun, school is simply a necessary drudgery, one that I no longer feel any attachment to or nostalgia for.

Since school closed last fall, there have been very few efforts to include or celebrate seniors. Obviously, part of the reason for this sad state of affairs is due to the pandemic and the accompanying restrictions it puts on all of our lives for the time being. However, other schools have come up with clever ways to celebrate their seniors in safe, interesting ways.

Our neighboring high school Potomac Falls, for example, let seniors each paint a parking spot in their student lot. Other schools have placed yard signs bearing student’s pictures and names near the school entrance. Dominion, however, has done virtually nothing.

The blame doesn’t just lie with school administration, either. SCA has been woefully absent this year as well; other than the movie night in October, what has our student government done to engage seniors and build a sense of community and spirit for our graduating class?

From my perspective, it seems like nobody really cares about my or classmates’ achievements anymore. Normally, surviving school and finally graduating is the biggest accomplishment of any person’s life so far, and it is celebrated as such. This year, I guess everybody has already given up.

I have heard by countless people this year to finish strong, to give my best effort even though the pandemic has curbed a lot of the fun things previous generations of adolescents my age have gotten to do. But why should I care about participating, being mentally present in class, and staying active in our school community, if school has been reduced to simply a place to get a diploma? Without any remotely engaging activities or celebrations of achievement, I find myself caring less and less whether I am contributing to my school, because clearly, my school does not care about contributing to me.

As this year drags on, high school feels increasingly pointless, and more and more like something I would rather forget. March 12th, 2020 was the closest I ever got to that sense of culmination and accomplishment that is supposed to come from finishing high school. Since then, I’ve just been waiting to finally move on.