Senior class unlike any other: Soon-to-be MAHS grads share thoughts on revised commencement, what they’ll remember
There are certain events that students eagerly await when they finally become high school seniors — prom and graduation, to name two.
However, for seniors in the class of 2020, enjoyment of the final months in their favorite classes with their friends has been cut short after schools were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Middletown Area School District is planning unique ways to honor its senior class — such as lighting up War Memorial Field and stringing banners for senior spring athletes along the fence and placing signs in honor of each student in front of the high school.
And the district is still planning on holding a version of graduation where the students will have the chance to walk across the high school stage in front of two of their loved ones and drive up to receive their diplomas before a parade through town.
So what do seniors think about the district’s plans? What were they looking forward to this spring semester? What will their memory of senior year be?
The Press & Journal asked seniors who are part of the Facebook group “Memories for Raiders 2020.”
Here are some of their responses.
What were you looking forward to in spring semester of your senior year?
• “I was really looking forward to my senior softball season with my team. I was also looking forward to saying goodbye to all of my classmates and teachers. I was hoping to enjoy the last few months of my high school career and make memories that will last a lifetime. I have been waiting since the beginning of the year to enjoy my last Mini-THON with all of my friends and to see all of the hard work pay off while watching the reveal of the grand total.” — Kate Fitzpatrick
• “I was looking for all the fun things that seniors get to do — all the lasts. Prom, graduation, picnic all with my friends and classmates ” — Isabella Stillo
• “I was looking forward to our last Mini-THON and also our graduation ceremony. I have been counting down the days and have been so excited for this day to come!” — Kendall Stiffler
• “Prom, graduation, Mini-THON.” — Bethany Keyser
• “Being able to say goodbye to my teachers and enjoy those last months of high school and being able to graduate in front of our families because we all worked so hard.” — Ariana Fink
• “I was really looking forward to softball, prom and everything else that came with the end of senior year.” — Jenna Jerome
• “I was looking forward on having a graduation ceremony, prom, and be able to run track one more time in high school. Also, roaming the halls the last few months of high school. Those memories I wanted to make the last year of my high school career will never be made. It will be a school year to be remembered.” — Zach Malay
• “Some things I was looking forward to during this spring semester was, of course, my last band concert, the tennis season, both prom and graduation, but the thing I was most looking forward to was the final days I would get to spend with most of my classmates and friends. Many of us are going off in our separate ways and will lose communication. I am going to miss all the underclassmen as well that I may not see for some time. Another thing that I will miss is the opportunity to partake in this year’s Mr. Middletown and Mini-THON. It is a shame that our kid that we worked so hard to raise money for the Four Diamonds fund will not get to have his usual experience at our Mini-THON.” — Jaden Miller
• “I was looking forward to prom and graduation.” — Natasha Manfred
• “I was looking forward to graduation and graduating with all of my friends. We’ve been looking forward to it since freshman year. Senior prom was also a big loss as well as senior softball season.” — Hailey Hockenberry
• “I was looking forward to spending the last few months with friends and taking as many pictures as possible for final memories of our senior year. Was also looking forward to prom (as this would of been my first and last prom) and graduation.” — Brittany Hall
• “I was looking forward to many things such as my senior baseball season, prom, Mini-THON, man pageant and graduation.” — Garrett Miller
• “Prom because it would of been my senior one.” — William Cleland
• “I was looking forward to prom because those are memories I’ll never forget. Everyone that I’ve talked to always remembers their senior prom. I am also big on sports and a tri-athlete and I was going to be the captain of my track team this year. So I kind of missed out on leading my team.” — Arthur Dash
• “I was looking forward to prom, graduation, my last track season, and my state competition events. I was particularly more enthusiastic about all of these this year because it’s my last year in high school.” — Cindy Jiang
• “Ever since my freshman year, I was looking forward to my senior year of playing baseball and walking across the Forum stage for graduation.” — Justin Yohn
What do you think about the district’s plans?
• “I am very happy with the school district’s plan. It’s not gonna be the same as in years past, but we still get to walk across a stage.” — Natasha Manfred
• “I think MASD’s plan for graduation is really special and shows that they took the time and care for us. It will definitely be different, but the Class of 2020 has always been unique. So it’s something we will never forget.” — Isabella Stillo
• “I personally think that our school district went above and beyond to make sure us seniors had a graduation to remember. I know it is not the ‘normal’ graduation we have been waiting for, but I think it is an amazing idea that we will forever remember. I appreciate all of their amazing hard work and dedication in making sure we will be able to experience our last moment as high school students!” — Kate Fitzpatrick
• “I think that the plans for graduation are great! We still have the opportunity to graduate and experience such an important milestone! It may not be how we have wanted it, but it sure is something special just like our class is!” — Kendall Stiffler
• “I’m OK with the plan. No, I’m not excited about the way it has to happen, but I’m excited to graduate, and I think the school district did the best they could with the situation at hand. Definitely will remember this one.” — Hailey Hockenberry
• “Said respectfully, I don’t like it. I wish something else would have been done.” — Jenna Jerome
• “Even though this graduation may not be as good as a traditional graduation with all my friends and family, I greatly appreciate everything they are doing. It means a lot that they are working hard to give us a graduation and recognize us for our achievements.” — Garrett Miller
• “The school district did a great job for graduation plans with the circumstance they had to work with.” — William Cleland
• “I think the school has been really flexible, and I thank them for making a solid plan the rest of the year. They have been great trying to work around this pandemic, and I will never forget about what they have done for the students, parents, teachers and others to make a modified graduation happen.” — Zach Malay
• “I mean, I guess it’s OK. It’s not the greatest. I’m still missing out on the wonderful feeling of walking on the stage in front of everyone and getting a diploma that I rightly deserve in front of a crowd of people like seniors before me.” — Arthur Dash
• “With the district’s plan, I am a little frustrated about how crazy this pandemic has ruined some of the most special days in one’s life. I am pleased how the school is continuing to try to help us feel normal by letting us walk across the stage, even if it is just with two loved ones. It is a strange idea, but I feel like it is one of the best scenarios for us.” — Jaden Miller
• “I think they are well thought out since social distancing is a majority priority for everyone this year.” — Cindy Jiang
• “I think the school district has made the most of a difficult situation.” — Justin Yohn
What will your memory of senior year be?
• “It’s definitely gonna be one I won’t forget. For what we had already this year was awesome and something we will all treasure.” — Natasha Manfred
• “My memory of senior year will be positive overall. There have been a lot of ups and downs, and it hasn’t turned out exactly how we wanted it to, but I’ve had great accomplishments my senior year with the help of Middletown’s admin and amazing teachers. I will never forget all the good memories my friends and I have made at Middletown and our unique senior year.” — Isabella Stillo
• “The memory of senior year will forever be a unique one. I know I will always remember all of the amazing memories and moments we created before our last day March 13. Personally, I will always remember that day when I think back to senior year, but it will bring back so many sweet memories like being on homecoming court, breaking the women’s school record in basketball, experiencing all our ‘lasts,’ and all of the smiles and laughs we shared as a class! As much as this situation is different and we have been stripped of so much, I am so blessed to have created so many friendships and made lasting memories these last four years, especially my senior year!” — Kate Fitzpatrick
• “My memory of senior year will be forever cherished… a lot of great things have occurred that I will remember forever! I owe it all to my amazing teachers and my friends! I loved all of the opportunities I had been given this year, and I took advantage of every single one! The one thing I will remember most is that even though our year was cut short, we still were able to finish it off, even if it was in a new way! 2020 is definitely an extraordinary class. I’ll miss you all!” — Kendall Stiffler
• “I have fond memories from senior year. I had an internship at Reid Elementary in a first-grade classroom with such amazing kids that I miss dearly and will remember always! Soccer season, field trips, and classes also gave me many last memories of school with my friends. I am disappointed in the outcome, but the first half was unforgettable.” — Hailey Hockenberry
• “My memory of senior year will probably be the football games. That’s where we all hung out the most.” — Jenna Jerome
• “I will definitely not forget COVID-19 and how it impacted my senior year. Unfortunately, the memory of losing all those fun senior year events will be burned into the back of my mind.” — Garrett Miller
• “My senior year memory will be that we are stronger because of this situation. The coronavirus didn’t get me down or stop me from graduating!” — William Cleland
• “This pandemic, but most importantly, my sports that I have done. I met my best friends that way and a lot more friends that I never imagined. I am thankful for that and having a chance to run at Penn State Harrisburg for cross country.” — Zach Malay
• “Senior year — it’s just the greatest memory I’ll probably ever have throughout my high school experience.” — Arthur Dash
• “As for my memory of senior year. I will remember the fall the most. I would make plans with friends for the spring, and unfortunately they cannot happen. I am grateful I still got to have one of my senior moments in my senior night for both soccer and marching band. I am going to remember some of my favorite teachers I unfortunately only had for half of the year. I will always think about what my final semester would have been in high school. For example, I will think about what my final tennis season as well as prom and any other events would have been like.” — Jaden Miller
• “That even though I just moved here, I still had time to make new friends and new memories. I’m glad that the memories are made, but still a bit sad since my senior year was cut short.” — Cindy Jiang
• “I will always remember the time spent with my friends.” — Justin Yohn