High school seniors have had a final semester this year unlike most others because of the pandemic. For many, prom has been canceled, graduations postponed or moved to digital spaces. And it’s even changed the way seniors prepare for the next phase of their education.
Jennifer Seekins is an administrator and academic counselor with the Abilene Independent School District. She told Texas Standard host David Brown on Wednesday that she’s advising students about the same concerns they have every year; scholarship applications, letters of recommendation. But this year, it’s all taking place via Zoom video chats.
One concern among students that is different this year is whether they will actually be able to attend college in person in the fall. Seekins said she’s preparing them to expect to do so.
“‘Do I still get to go live in the dorm? Do I still get to go off to college?” she said students ask. “Most of the seniors with whom I visit with, that’s the way we plan things: for them to be able to have a normal freshmen experience.”
Seekins has also had to help students cope with the traditions that couldn’t take place this year. Her home school, Cooper High School, is
a medical magnet school, and graduating seniors normally participate in a stethoscope ceremony. That, as well as in-person graduation have been delayed, most likely until July.
As a mother of a graduating senior herself, Seekins said there have been some silver linings to the experience this semester. She has been able to work from home and be with her two sons more. She even got to be home when the eldest met his future college roommate via Zoom.
But she also knows many of her students have parents who can’t work from home right now. Added to that is a loss of some of the things that wake senior year special, and Seekins knows some of that loss can’t be made up.
“They’d probably feel very differently, and probably feel very robbed in a way that my boys have not been,” she said
Web story by Caroline Covington.
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