Teachers react to ‘surreal’ ending of year

photo or infographic by Emily Meachen
Wresting coach Bryan Thomas and English teacher Bridget Thomas cheer the senior on. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes.
Spanish teacher Nicole Ibarra wishes felicidades to the clase de 2020. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo  by Emily Meachen)
Passing out pom poms for the celebration, principal Stephanie Hodgins gets ready to cheer on the class of 2020. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo by Emily Meachen)
Excited to see her seniors, biology teacher Heather Lebow reacts to the first cars. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo by Emily Meachen)
Expressing her love for her drama students and the entire class, drama teacher Cassandra Matlock showes her Wildkat spirit. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo by Emily Meachen)
English teachers Chris and DeAnna Slovak entertain the seniors as they drive through. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs.  The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo by Emily Meachen)
Wresting coach Bryan Thomas and English teacher Bridget Thomas cheer the senior on. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo by Emily Meachen)
Retiring teachers Tricia Lynch, Cheryl Gehovak and Christina Henderson celebrate the seniors. Faculty members surprised seniors by celebrating the class of 2020 when they came to pick up their yard signs. The event was meaningful to the teachers and students since the ending of the school robbed them the chance for traditional good-byes. (photo by Emily Meachen)

No more bells ringing for the next period. No more students bursting in the classroom loudly not prepared for the day. No more endless assignments given out to be graded. School is finished just like that. 

No teacher had the chance to say their final goodbye to their wild students leaving the school. Before anyone knew it, the last day was complete without anyone actually completing it. 

“It happened too fast,” English teacher Christina Henderson said. “We did not really get to have closure on the year. I miss my students and really did not get to say a proper good-bye.”

This school year was the most different, and no one was prepared for what heights the pandemic would push them.

“In a word, this school year has been surreal,” Principal Stephanie Hodgins said. “When I walked out of the building on March 6, I was prepared for spring break. Nothing could have prepared me for COVID-19.”

Lessons had been presented in a different manner to students which changed the mindset of others.

“COVID-19 really threw a wrench in my plans for the way the school year was supposed to end,” culinary instructor Chef Sandra Jefferson said. “As teachers, we had to change our mindset about how we deliver lessons to our students.”

All staff members feel for the seniors ending the year like it did. No one expected for this to happen, but it was handled well through the transition.  

“It was such a disappointment, especially for seniors, to end the year like this,” assistant principal Alicia Parker said. “I think teachers and students transitioned really well and really quickly to online learning. It wasn’t perfect, but there was a lot of communication between students and staff members. I hope everyone felt like they could get help if they needed it. I think everyone made the best of such unusual circumstances.”

During this time staff worried about how students were feeling about what was happening. It is something that hasn’t been dealt with in the century so everyone copes differently. 

“It was definitely a tough ending to a school,” counselor Tricia Newman said. “From a counselor perspective, it was very hard to not have the same closure with my students as we have had in previous years. I also worried about my students a lot and how they were coping with such an unprecedented event/time in our lives.”

Teachers express what they miss out on because of the year ending in unusual circumstances. 

“This year I missed out on my two favorite events, the senior awards night and graduation,” Jim Korkowski said. “ I liked seeing kids I had in class rewarded for their hard work.”