MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WWBT) - Students have had a day to process Governor Northam’s announcement that schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Now many seniors are reflecting on academic and athletic careers that have reached their end, yet still, feel incomplete.
Seniors at Manchester walked out of the building on March 12, not realizing that it would be their final day of high school. They would get no senior prom, no commencement, no formal chance to say goodbye to classmates and teachers.
"I just started bawling. My heart was broken," said Manchester senior Madisyn Federico. "There's nothing that you can say or do to make someone feel better about that. It's just... it's over."
"I will miss Manchester so much," added fellow senior Kaitlyn Underwood. "The teachers here, the coaches here, the people here have helped me grow into who I am so much."
Kaitlyn will attend James Madison next year, while Madisyn is headed to Virginia Tech, but both know plenty of classmates who really could have used the remainder of the school calendar to boost their academic standing.
"There are a lot of academic things that are motivation for kids who don't have a lot of push at home or in the classroom to get there and make that final step," Underwood noted. "Without having that, that could be another barrier they have to face."
Madisyn and Kaitlyn are also teammates on the Lancers' softball team and have seen their senior seasons end before even really beginning. For them, that could be the result of this pandemic that cuts the deepest.
"I've been with them for five years now," said Federico. "I can't even play my last season with them. I can't even have a senior night, which we've all been looking forward to since we started playing softball."
"Didn't even get our first game," Underwood said. "Our team isn't just a team. Our team's a family, our team's been a family since 8th grade, and it's just... I don't even know what to say."
High school coming to a premature end sends a shock wave through the Class of 2020, but when the dust settles, these teammates, classmates and friends know that they will persevere.
“We’re all going to college, we’re all going to do amazing in life,” said Federico. “I know that we’re all going to stay in touch and I know that just because this is the ending here, it’s not the end of our family. It’s not the end of our friendship.”
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