Classes of ‘20 and ‘21 Compare Cruel Fates in COVID Era


Carson Reynolds, Mady Mertens

COVID CLASSES: Comparing pandemic-impacted fates is a new pastime between last year’s graduating class and this year’s seniors. Here Class of 2020 graduate Brock Clement receives his diploma from Principal Curtis Douglass during a May 26 drive-through event at the school and Class of 2021 member Lupita Torres celebrates the start of her senior year during a drive-through parade held at the Northside United Methodist Church on Aug. 21.

If given the choice, which would you pick to lose, the first three or the last three months of your senior year? For the 2020 and 2021 classes, the choice was made for them. These graduating classes have had to adapt their senior experiences in many ways thanks to new pandemic era changes. 

On the fateful day of March 13 of this much-lamented year, when last school year was first suspended, members of the Class of 2020 left North Atlanta assuming that they’d be back in two weeks, just in time for the beginning of spring senior festivities. Much to these students’ surprise and dismay, two weeks turned into the rest of the school year. Many seniors watched in disbelief as the pandemic meant one milestone spring event after another was cancelled. “It was so hard watching so much get taken in such a short amount of time,” said Class of 2020 member Mackenzie Adams, who now is in her freshman year at the University of Georgia. “It felt like almost all of the ceremonies, special recognition moments, and long-time traditions that we had been looking forward to and working towards for so many years had been taken from us in an instant.”

Last year’s juniors watched the Class of 2020’s fate with empathy. But among this group — this year’s seniors — there was never any thought that their senior year would be equally if not more impacted. Now two weeks into their online senior school year, many students of the 2021 class have come to the unfortunate realization that their year will be impacted as well. “I didn’t think this would affect my senior year,” said senior Eve Smith. “I thought it’d get better over the summer and I really hoped I’d get my senior year back.” 

For the 2020 class, losing those last three months meant losing important events such as spring break, spring sports/senior night, prom, and the graduation ceremony. The 2021 class will experience some tough losses too over the next couple months. “I was mad because people were going to get corona anyway, in school or not,” said senior Jack Bynum regarding Atlanta Public School’s decision to not return to in-person learning.

Unfortunately for the current seniors, the fate of this school year is very unknown. Much could change in the span of this school year. “Even though I hope it doesn’t happen, we may not get a senior year at all,” Bynum said.

 Most interviewed students said they would rather lose the first three months of school than the last, citing reasons such as prom and graduation which occur in the later part of the year. Additionally, many current seniors declined when asked if they’d want to switch places with the 2020 class, despite many 2021 students feeling that their class has it worse. While most students examining each class’ situation see more losses on 2020’s side, only time will tell how the Class of 2021 will weather the COVID storm.