“Maybe it is just my busy schedule with [Advanced Placement] and [International Baccalaureate] classes that it has not really sunk in that I have been missing all these [senior] activities,” senior Kathryn Aurelio and homecoming court member said recently in response to her assessment of the 2020-2021 school year.
Aurelio’s not alone in this line of thinking. Following the previous senior class’ devastating loss of such traditional events as Grad Nite at Disneyland, Paper Toss on the last day of the spring semester and graduation ceremony at Fullerton Union High School, many in the Class of 2021 doubted that the coronavirus pandemic would ease up.
So it made perfect sense for those in the Class of 2021 to keep busy and just assume that they would face the same fate.
But the opposite has happened since the second month of the spring semester. Positive COVID-19 cases have decreased significantly, and many more — including teenagers 16 and above — are eligible to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District board of trustees approved a proposal to allow students to attend classes four days a week starting this week.
According to data provided by school officials, as of Wednesday, April 21, of the 547 seniors enrolled here, only 141, or 26%, have opted for this opportunity. Juniors lag behind all other classes with only 137 of 620, or 22%, on campus.
And in the lead with the most number of students? Freshmen with 164 of 612, a total of 27%.
That should not be the case. The remaining 406 in the senior class should set the example for juniors and underclassmen who are still Zooming in from home and finish out these last five weeks of high school here — on campus.
Though some feel reluctant to come to school, potentially disrupting their current online learning routine, they need to come to the realization that that’s not how they want to make their “senior memories.”
Perhaps the biggest concern for these stay-at-home seniors is the fear of contracting the coronavirus and infecting other members in the household, specifically the elderly. Nevertheless, at this point, around 80% of elders above the age of 75 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The chance of infecting a family member is therefore relatively low, especially if students take safety precautions seriously. Overall, the percentage of vaccinated people ages 18-29 increased since early April — lowering the probability of getting the coronavirus once again.
Once more seniors set foot back on campus — a first for most of them this year — they can look forward to the exciting events school officials have planned for them. In fact, principal Allen Whitten told one of The Accolade’s reporters that an end-of-the-year outdoor assembly using the jumbotron could happen.
And the Paper Toss? “We are still looking into this option,” Whitten said.
With Grad Nite sales still lagging, seniors need to accept the fact that a miniature golf park with rides and food can still make memories for them — it’s truly not the venue but the company that will make all the difference.
So the next time any of us here Whitten say, “Go Lancers!” we should interpret it as “Go Lancers back to school.”