For the past four years of my life I have taken what I had for granted. I have said how much I hated high school at least once a day and I begged the universe for my experience to pass by faster. In some twisted way, when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, I got my wish.
When COVID-19 shut Woodland’s doors I no longer had to wake up at six in the morning, see any of the people I claimed to hate, or attend any of the classes that I claimed bored me out of my mind. When I received the message that school would be closed for two weeks because of the pandemic I was almost excited about it, as many of us students were. I spent that last day the way I normally would. I left all of my belongings that I kept in the journalism office there, as I expected to return shortly. Then COVID-19 turned the two weeks into a month, then two months, and now we can no longer return to school for this year. I was sad at first, but I tried not to think about it for too long.
I told myself I had accepted the news and would never take anything for granted again; however as I drove up the infamous Woodland hill on the morning of May 6th to pick up my cap and gown I may never have a chance to wear, I realized that I am not over the loss that we have suffered. We, the class of 2020, will never truly get over what happened to us this year. Over time, the pain of having what was supposed to be the best semester of our high school careers ripped away from us will fade, but we will never forget what has happened, and we will always have these scars.
Sitting in my room day after day, I have had a lot of time to reflect on the memories of Woodland. I’ve always heard my teachers say that there is “no place like Woodland”–it is special; it is one of a kind. I never believed them until I could no longer return to that special, on-of-a-kind place. It took a global pandemic for me to realize what an honor I had by attending Woodland.
For the classes that come after me I have some advice for you:
- Appreciate the faculty at Woodland. You will never find teachers and other staff members that care for you more than those at Woodland.
- Take risks. In a few years you won’t remember the things you tried for but did not receive. You will however remember the chances you didn’t take, the opportunities you passed by because you were too scared.
- Don’t take anything for granted. You do not deserve anything; you have to be grateful for the things you do receive.
To the class of 2020, we are making history. We are finishing these last few weeks we have online, isolated, but never truly alone. It certainly was not the way we expected, but we did it. Although we will never again walk the halls of Woodland as seniors, we will forever carry the memories we made while there. We will always remember the sports games we won, the trips we took, all of the memories from clubs and activities, and of course, winning the shovel for two years straight, making Woodland history. These are the memories that we will carry for the rest of our lives. Woodland has given us these memories, and I for one will treasure these forever.