by Anna Perez, Staff Writer, April 2021
This year has undoubtedly created some of the most daunting challenges that the Nobles community has ever faced. In the midst of the pandemic, the administration has felt pressure to begin reopening and give more opportunities to students, specifically students in Class I. In an effort to make the last quarter of the year as “normal” as possible for the senior class, various members of the community came together to work on plans for a prom, a senior night, and in-person graduation. Seniors were also given the opportunity to be on campus five days a week upon returning from spring break.
Many seniors have already chosen to take advantage of this opportunity, seeing it as a chance to spend their last months among friends, whether it be eating lunch together, spending free periods outside, or staying together after school. “I definitely feel more [a] part of the community,” Avery Miranda (Class I) said.
With the addition of Mondays and Tuesdays, seniors are now able to meet and get to know some of the younger students. Catie Asnis (Class I) sees this as a chance to get a sense of normalcy in her last quarter at Nobles. “A big part of what makes senior year so fun is getting to spend time with underclassmen and middle schoolers,” Asnis said. The ability to attend school in-person all week has had a strong impact on the senior class’s experience.
Faculty and staff have also been hard at work on various events that are traditionally held for Class I, including prom and graduation. After these events were canceled last year, many seniors are excited to be having them take place in person. “I’m super grateful,” Asnis said. She continued, “I was not expecting a lot of those events given the conditions.”
These final events are typically very special as they signify the end of senior year and Class I’s time together, and many feel that this year, they are even more important. “If I’m able to be in the presence of my class for one last day and make one more memory, that’s super special,” Justin Qin (Class I) said.
Although seniors are grateful for these events, there has been a lot of discussion over what has been lost this year. One thing that has been drastically different is assembly. With assembly being virtual, there is less of an opportunity to connect with classmates and less excitement surrounding performances. The assemblies of the fourth quarter are typically when seniors choose to perform before they graduate, and with fewer assemblies, there is less opportunity to do this. “A lot of awesome effort is being put into those assemblies, and it’s not something easy to do, but I think [the tradition] has been lost,” Qin said.
There has also been controversy surrounding the idea of senior privileges. Usually, seniors are permitted to leave campus during free periods after Thanksgiving, and many use this privilege to go get lunch or spend time with friends off-campus. This freedom allows seniors to feel more like adults as they transition out of high school. However, with the pandemic and the required safety protocols, that privilege has not been extended to the Class of 2021. While many seniors acknowledge that these changes were made to keep the school safe and were necessary, there are still many who feel that there might have been a way to incorporate those same privileges.
“I wish they had done a trial and error process back when it was just the upper school,” Miranda said. She elaborated, “Part of a senior privilege is putting the trust in seniors to make the right decisions, and I wish they would have let us have [more freedom] with that.” Eliminating privileges this year has had an impact on the spring and the connection between the students and faculty. Some seniors are upset at the lack of opportunity to experience real-world freedoms and trust.
Despite not being able to leave campus, it is widely understood that these measures are out of an abundance of caution. “While I’d love to have those privileges, I definitely understand why we don’t,” Qin said. Since the seniors are on campus with other students, their presence affects the experiences of the underclassmen, and the younger student’s safety must remain in the seniors’ minds.“I recognize that seniors are not the only ones on campus, so taking away some of these senior privileges is beneficial in the long run,” Miranda said.
This year has certainly presented challenges to the senior class and made their final year at Nobles unlike any other in the school’s history, but the older students are grateful for what the administration has offered so far. “In a time like this, it’s a privilege that seniors are there five days a week,” Asnis said. The upcoming events such as prom, graduation, and other senior events are finding a way to honor the Class of 2021 in person. Looking back on the events of the past year, seniors are surprised, grateful, and excited that they will be able to finish off in a somewhat normal way.