Class of 2020 confronts uncertainty as pandemic upends school year


Bayleah Vogel

Usually bustling and driving towards an end of the year with spring sports in full swing, Boone County High School is currently quiet as schools across Kentucky have closed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Morgan Daniels

Boone students, specifically seniors, are feeling all sorts of emotions as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic potentially cancelling many major after school programs and events.

On March 11, students received the news that on the following Monday, the district would begin non-traditional schooling up until the potential return date of April 20.

The effects of COVID-19 is something that nearly everyone is feeling right now. The illness has brought a bout of uncertainty for the whole world, meaning that the length of these event closures are still up in the air.

As of right now, the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) state conference and a band trip have been cancelled, spring sports have been halted, and nearly all major senior events, according to Boone’s twitter, are subject to change or cancellation.

Though many after the April 20 date are still scheduled, the class of 2020 is worried that could change, and they could lose their senior breakfast, Kings Island trip, exit interviews, class picture, and even senior prom and graduation ceremony.

So far, only FBLA state, state testing, and the band’s trip is definitively cancelled. Despite that, many students are worried about the uncertainty of other activities being postponed and scrapped.

“It feels extremely disappointing to know that my classmates and I will not be able to experience many of those senior moments that we have been waiting for since we first stepped foot into Boone,” said senior Lanie Fangman. “It hurts knowing that a lot of our last days together as a class were taken away.”

Despite all the chaos in regards to COVID-19, Fangman believes that she and her class will be successful in getting through this.

She also said that the senior group chat has kept in touch through this time of isolation, because they are all feeling sad together.

Senior Lucas Ferguson is just as upset over what is happening to his final year of high school.

“Every senior deserves to go to their last prom, play their last high school sport, or be able to walk across that stage and accept the diploma they’ve worked so hard for the past 12 grades,” he said. “For that to be taken away from you with such short notice, it sucks.”

For senior Alissa Avila, who went to state her sophomore and junior year, the cancellation of the state FBLA competition is another disappointment.

The FBLA state competition that was to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, is no longer allowing a physical conference to take place. Instead, members will be competing through the use of online tests and filmed presentations.

“The excitement of regionals and walking across the stage knowing you placed won’t be the same, even if it is done virtually,” Avila said.

After winning at regionals, this would have been her final chance at state, an experience that has always been different and exciting to her before.

Boone’s FBLA chapter advisor Jay VanRyzin said that FBLA takes students’ safety very seriously.

According to him, FBLA had been planning on making adjustments to their conference prior to the government’s intervention. He said that they were fully aware that gathering thousands of students under one hotel roof while a contagious virus is spreading would be a bad situation.

Avila said that FBLA being cancelled is “truly a sad feeling,” and that she hopes the Coronavirus “doesn’t kill (her) senior year.”

Senior band member Jennifer Schalk had similar feelings of disappointment when she heard her band trip to Washington DC was also cancelled.

The trip was a music festival that was scheduled to take place between March 26 and March 29, where bands from all across the nation would play at a concert hall and receive a performance rating.

Schalk said that she was most anticipating the time she would get to spend with her band friends.

“I was hoping to make the best of my senior year,” she said.

Schalk said that the individual cost for the trip was somewhere around $550, and that, as of right now, the band is unsure whether or not they will receive a refund.

Many seniors are upset and frustrated with the current situation, but Fangman believes that the district is making the correct choice in cancelling and rescheduling so many events.

Fangman said that the world is in a state of shock and that it seems that everything is frozen at standpoint, but that she is glad our country is working together to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

“It is important to remember that we are distancing from one another not because we, the teen adolescents, are the ones in danger, but because we do not want to keep spreading the virus to those with respiratory problems or the elderly,” Fangman said. “It is important that we are not selfish.”

She said safety is a priority, even if this is an extremely upsetting situation.

“Although I would love to have the senior experiences, I would rather keep my grandparents and other family members safe from the virus,” Fangman said.