High school seniors stay positive despite school closures, canceled activites

High school seniors reflect on school closures during COVID-19

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Bethany Fierro, a senior at Canyon Del Oro High School, held up her emerald green, A-line dress she ordered for prom.

“It was, like, my dream dress,” she said.

Now, she may never wear her dream dress.

Gov. Doug Ducey ordered all schools to stay closed through the end of the year. Graduations, sporting events and other school-sanctioned activities, including proms, have been canceled around the state.

“I felt like I would see them again, so we just talked like normal,” Fierro said.

Not knowing the last days of spring break would be her last days of senior year, Fierro never had the chance to say goodbye to her teachers or friends. She “goes” to school online from the comfort of her home. She’s not alone, Kristina Defoor, a senior at Catalina Foothills High School, said she’s is experiencing much of the same grief.

“The whole four years, all you do is work for that last quarter of senior year and it was kind of taken away from us,” Defoor said.

She spends her days doing homework online and walking her yellow lab, Daizy, around the neighborhood. But, there is no escaping the future. As she plans for college, COVID-19 has provided another challenge.

“I was supposed to leave tomorrow, actually, to go visit a college which I was really interested in,” said Defoor.

Now, she has to choose which college to go to online, without seeing the campus.

“It’s really nerve-racking because I really want to choose the right place for me,” she said.

For both seniors, classes at their fingertips seem farther away — so does graduation. For students with the Amphi Unified School District and Catalina Foothills Unified School District, plans for graduation are up in the air, but officials with the Tucson Unified School District said cancellation is not on the table

"I feel very strongly that we that, at the very least, we owe our senior class a graduation class a ceremony,” TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said.

Trujillo said, for now, TUSD is keeping its plans for graduation, but will postpone graduation as needed. OFficials with Marana Unified School District said they are canceling their public graduations, while Sunnyside Unified School District said they are committed to having a ceremony.

COVID-19 might define 2020, but these seniors are trying to not let it define the class of 2020.

“I think it’s better to look on the positive sides of what high school was about,” Fierro said.

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