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Seniors React to Longstanding COVID Impact

Last spring, Mr. Jamie Polak, Instructor in Social Studies, congratulated 2019 graduates on their drive-through diploma ceremony. This year, seniors and all students are greeted each day with a "Lancer Strong" sign at the entrance of the Upper School.

Senior year has arrived for the Class of 2021, and seniors are preparing for a year like no other. Due to COVID 19, Gilmour Academy has made several adjustments to be able to have all students as safe as possible while attending class in person. Students are required to keep a six foot distance from other other students at all times, wear a mask all day, and have certain doors that are specifically for entrances and exits. When senior year is long-awaited with high expectations, how are seniors adjusting to COVID constraints?

The Tudor House continues to invite students for admissions while seniors hope their last year at the Academy is the best it can be.

Seniors have had mixed reactions to the changes.  According to Mitch Lamosek (‘21), the virus is  “restricting everybody from performing at full potential.” Lamosek said,  “I was always looking forward to my senior year, because it would be a good time with friends, a good finale, but it ended up being difficult because of this whole virus.” Lamosek appreciates all efforts being made to make senior year as special as possible, but he misses seeing everyone every day, like in the good old days. Lamosek said,  “The whole year is structured in a different way. I like how it was before.”  

Mollie Edmondson (‘21) said, “I feel that virtual classes are a totally different experience than in-person classes, but they teach students to self-learn. While virtual learning poses many challenges for students, it can help to strengthen independence. Also, capacity is the reason for the half and half structure, so by being virtual half the time, we are able to come in person the other half which benefits everyone.”

Although COVID has not produced  the ideal learning environment, Edmondson knows that having the half and half structure can help students enormously. When questioned about her expectations for this upcoming year, Edmondson said,”I expected to have the same senior year as the classes before me. I expected a homecoming, prom, graduation, sports gatherings, and other assemblies.”

Last spring, administration and staff prepare to hand-deliver diplomas to 2019 graduates.

According to Brinn MacLellan (‘21),  “Teachers have been impacted the most by the changes made at school. They are the ones who have been going by the same schedule for years, and were forced to completely alter their traditional styles to make it an overall safer environment for us students.” MacLellan also said,  “Having some classes virtually is definitely beneficial. We are used to switching classes every day. It is a tactic which offers us a slight break from having the same exact schedule every day.”

Matt Beck (‘21) agreed with MacLellan. Beck said, “The teachers are the most impacted because they had to change the way they went about their teaching. I feel Gilmour takes this all very seriously and it’s definitely the safest way to have classes in person.”

Overall, many seniors have expressed that the main focus is to help students in a safe, productive, and enjoyable-if-possible environment. According to a number of seniors interviewed, the seniors will surely not enjoy the senior year they always dreamed of having, but they are adjusting as well as they can.