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Dear 2030 Graduating Class

The morning of our senior skip day, our group of friends decided to all enjoy our day off. Unfortunately, while we were all together; we had received a text from our principal. She explained that we will be quarantined until further notice. Our world began to go through a drastic change called the pandemic or also known as Covid-19.  The pandemic has taken away memories I was not able to create during high school. I was not able to participate in softball, our class was not able to attend a prom, and our activities that meant the most to us were put on hold.  If I were to give a speech to the 2030 seniors, I would first inform the students to cherish their high school moments while they last. Take videos, pictures, participate in events, and most importantly involve yourself in activities. We had worked extremely hard for our senior year to get wiped away without a say. Build those memories while you can, and treat every day of school as if it’s your last. Our society was much different in the year of 2020, we were forced to wear masks, social distance, and suffer from mental health issues. The pandemic has become a disaster in our economy and is killing a large scale of people. Unfortunately, this is not how we pictured our world, but pretty soon the pandemic will end and just remember that patience is key.

The crisis all started when I was removed from my high school due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, we were not able to come back to school. Our governor told us to finish the school year virtually. We were forced to do our work through an app called schoology. However, from not being in school, we’ve missed out on opportunities in school, causing high school students to develop depression and lower their self esteem. There were a high number of students who took advantage of going to school virtually and thought it was more of a vacation. Many of my classmates did not follow the guidelines, which postponed our date back to school. I was involved in a lot of activities; not being there for a while made me develop depression. My goal was to go back to school. A high amount of students took advantage of staying home, but there were also students like me who would’ve done absolutely anything to finish off where they started. I was not able to participate in softball, wrestling, or dance. The worst part of our senior year was not being able to have a senior prom. Many of my classmates had purchased a dress and were not able to return it. At least, we were able to have a graduation which was hosted at Parx Casino. However, after three and a half years at Bensalem High School, I created a family. I became an “Owl” which was our spirit animal in Bensalem. I had close relationships with many students along with the teachers and principals. They felt like a family, which made school more enjoyable. Students have different perspectives on their high-school experience, and mine was something I will never forget.  

Our economy was going downhill as months passed by. We had thought that the virus would have bypassed over time, but that wasn’t the case. Businesses were closing day by day, due to citizens not following the restricted guidelines. Workers, such as landscapers, contractors and lawyers, are choosing to stay home over patronizing their establishments. Throughout the past year, businesses such as restaurants, bars, and schools have been hit the hardest. Beauty businesses remained permanently closed until further notice.  They were shutting down because they were not able to adapt to the new restrictions. My father was also affected during the outbreak because he owns a restaurant. He had to limit the number of coworkers in his restaurant. Even though his business was not suffering financially, his coworkers were. The unemployment rates began to rise up, and more families began to struggle financially. There were unemployment checks going around for employees. It’s a tough call to determine whether or not businesses will reopen entirely. However, over the past six month,s restaurants have been slowly beginning to reopen and adapt to the guidelines.

The pandemic outbreak began to get much worse as time passed. Our social lives were nearly put on hold. We were enforced to wear masks and social distance six feet apart. We had a limit for the amount of people that went into certain stores. It became quite difficult for everyone to follow the guidelines of Covid, so it began to get worse. Our death rates began to increase in our country day by day due to people not following our guidelines. With the world not cooperating with social distancing, we were forced to go into a lock down. Unfortunately we were restricted to leave our homes unless it was an emergency. Social distancing has caused people to develop mental health issues along with lack of communication skills. In my opinion the pandemic is lowering one’s self esteem. With that being said it’s becoming too difficult to adapt to new social activities for the younger generation. Hopefully a few years down the road our world will be much different and our lives will be back to normal.

In order to achieve anything you want in life, you will have to face challenges. The pandemic has caused trouble to our entire universe. However, we can look at this outbreak on a positive note and consider that we learned something from it. Even though our lives were put on hold. I believe that the pandemic has sculpted each and every one of us into a stronger person mentally and physically. While being stuck at home, I can admit that our social apps have brought the entire world together as a whole. For example, the app known as Tik-Tok became a huge distraction. Teens, along with adults, learned how to keep one another occupied during this crisis. I also learned how to cook certain meals through Tik-Tok. One of my favorite things I learned was how to make almond milk. We have to look at the outbreak on the bright side and thrive to be the best version of ourselves we possibly can become.

Lauren Bardone is a first-year student at Holy Family.