For many Wellington High School seniors, having school shut down in their final days of high school is a bummer. They were expecting to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas, but now it’s not clear how that will play out.
“It kind of sucks that I won’t see this giant group of friends in one place again,” WHS senior Quinn McCue said.
Senior Cameron Carter said he was expecting an extended spring break due to coronavirus, but he wasn’t expecting Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to cancel the rest of the year. Carter was looking forward to being in some competitions with the WHS choir and appearing in the play, “Mary Poppins.”
Jordyn Young was also looking forward to appearing in her school’s production of “Mary Poppins.” Young was going to play the part of Mrs. Corry, the old lady who owns the “talking shop” and sings “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” with Mary Poppins and Bert the chimney sweep.
The cancellation is also difficult because this was going to be Young’s last year to participate in track, she said.
While physical classroom time won’t take place, USD 353 is looking at virtual learning for K-12 students.
“I’m glad I can finish high school,” McCue said.
Carter said, “It definitely makes me feel better that that’s being talked about. I knew they wouldn’t just leave us hanging, I knew they’d have something in the works.”
The prospect of not getting to walk across the stage in a graduation ceremony in May is a disappointment to the students. The opportunity to receive a diploma and shake the principal’s hand is a way to “wrap high school in a bow,” McCue said.
Cater said, “We’ve watched all the seniors before us take the walk.”
Yet, while they are disappointed, the seniors said they understand why the decision to shut down classes had to be made.
“I understand it’s for the greater good,” McCue said.
Young said, “I don’t want anyone close to me to get sick. It’s not a disease to poke fun at because people have died. I understand why they did it.”
While they aren’t gathering in physical gatherings, the students said they keep in contact with their peers online. They’re not socially isolated.
“It’s nice to be part of this technological age where you can be a distance away and still be in contact,” Carter said.
McCue and Carter said if a graduation ceremony is held at some alternative date, they would definitely go.
“Even if it’s not regular or at a different time, it would still be nice to walk the stage like we’ve been preparing to do for years,” Carter said.
The three seniors are preparing to attend college in the fall. McCue plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, Young plans to attend Adelphi University in New York and Carter plans to attend Southwestern College in Winfield. They are all preparing to stay home and take classes from their respective institutions online.
But what if world events put their college careers on hold?
“It’s crossed my mind that this might throw a giant wrench in my plans,” McCue said. “But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to take it day to day instead of worrying about something that hasn’t happened.”