by Jacob Casper, Staff Writer, April 2021

As the 2020-2021 Nobles school year draws to a close, seniors exchange their textbooks and college applications for Spikeball and lounging on the beach. Prom, team captainship, senior ditch day – senior year at Nobles is full of important traditions and events that make it uniquely special. However, when school started in a hybrid format last fall it became clear that this school year would be unlike any other, especially for the oldest students.

From the time that they arrive at Nobles, students are inundated with all kinds of stories about the magic of senior year. “The first thing that comes to mind is smooth sailing throughout the spring semester: games of Spikeball, good weather, and long lunches with your friends,” Justin Qin (Class I) said. “It’s a time to connect with the people you’ve known for so long and really cherish those last few moments together.” Some students also see senior year as a time to do away with old grudges and make new friendships. “When my brothers were seniors, all the cliques kind of separated and everyone hung out together,” Lily Jaczko (Class I) said.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic made it very clear that the Class of 2021’s senior year was going to be abnormal. The seniors had to adapt to a lot of changes to their Nobles experience. “At first, the hybrid schedule was a little strange,” Xavier Welch (Class I) said. “To be honest, it’s so much easier to be at home [during school], and being able to do homework during class when virtual lowered the stress level.” Some seniors also felt that there was significantly more work to do during their senior fall than normal. “Because junior year was cut in half, the workload for senior fall increased a lot,” Qin said. “Every week felt so different from the last, so I never really got into a groove of ‘I’m going to do this and this and this.’”

Fortunately, COVID-19 had the side effect of making certain parts of senior year less stressful: most importantly, the college process. “Because of COVID, I didn’t have to take subject tests and I had a lot more time to worry about my applications,” Welch said. Similarly, Jaczko said, “I didn’t have to submit my SAT scores, which definitely lessened some of the stress.” Despite applications feeling less stressful, the pandemic radically changed certain aspects of the process. “I wasn’t able to tour any schools, so I had to make a decision based on schools’ websites,” Alex Halaby (Class I) said. “Other than that, though, the process didn’t change for me that much.”

Even with the many changes that the pandemic has necessitated, the seniors have still found ways to make the best of a less than ideal situation and create lasting memories with each other. “I really enjoyed my final season of Boys’ Cross Country,” Qin said. “Despite social distancing and masks, we were able to maintain our team spirit and camaraderie. I run Cross Country for the people, not the sport, and I’m glad we were able to continue our traditions.” Other seniors have valued the free time that senior spring has given them. “The day before spring break, the weather was great. One of the seniors brought a speaker and played music, and the vibes were immaculate,” Welch said.

When responding to the pandemic, Nobles has had to be quick on its feet and come up with innovative ways to operate safely while still providing students with a sense of normalcy. “It’s a privilege to be tested [for COVID] every week on campus,” Welch said. 

Overall, our seniors look to enjoy the spring. They will continue to make the most of their last few weeks, just as they have been doing all year.