By Theo Wyss-Flamm
April 10, 2020, the morning after Governor Wolf announced that all Pennsylvania
schools were to be closed for the remainder of the year, my friends and I …
By Theo Wyss-Flamm
On Friday, April 10, 2020, the morning after Governor Wolf announced that all Pennsylvania schools were to be closed for the remainder of the year, my friends and I -- all seniors at J. R. Masterman High School -- spent hours filling our group chat with
nostalgia-inciting pictures and videos from our three and a half years of high school.
Our phones’ camera rolls had become documentaries of our lives to date. Every moment was accounted for, from crying in the cafeteria over a test to the morning we woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the sunrise over the Ventnor shore.
Just like that, our senior year was over.
As I watched the moments trickle through the group chat, I found memories I’d forgotten about, memories that shaped me, and memories of the best days of my life. It seemed like a proper way to bid farewell to the life we’d created at Masterman. There’s nothing like a global pandemic to bring physically separate people together through virtual means.
Like most, I’ve traded my 6 a.m. alarm for 9 a.m. and my active, wandering lifestyle for a dull, static one. But unlike most, these dull days have replaced ones that I’d been anticipating for years. As an involved underclassman, I always looked up to my senior classmates, admiring as they dazzled at senior prom, posed on college decision day, dominated during Spirit Week, and oozed with confidence at graduation. This spring was supposed to be our turn to celebrate, but as the COVID-19 pandemic tore through the U.S. and Philly, the innocent events we’d looked forward to were the first to be crossed off our calendars.
Now, instead of celebrating, we’re suspended in uncertainty as we choose among college acceptances, the only controllable part of our lives right now, and look to our future without even a proper send off from high school. Even that feels shrouded in doubt: the usual anxiety of beginning college is now coupled with the uncertainty of not knowing whether campuses will be opening in August.
In the big picture, the high school class of 2020 is rather unimportant right now, but to the students who are in it -- me, my classmates and thousands of others around the country -- it’s the only thing on our minds. There is something depressingly abrupt about unknowingly attending your final day of high school on an average Friday in March. We will be fine, but it’s a gut punch when the quintessential experiences of growing up are taken from you. Conclusion and recognition are things that everyone deserves.
Theo Wyss-Flamm, 18, is a resident of Chestnut Hill