Because of the pandemic, on Friday, March 13, Utah students were notified that school was dismissed for two weeks; soon afterward, they were informed home school would last the rest of the school year. Students at Skyridge High School were not allowed to return to class, to be with their friends, to clear out their lockers, to talk with their teachers, or to enjoy the camaraderie of the hallways.
Classrooms were empty and learning became remote. Extracurricular activities were canceled for the rest of the school year including musicals, sports, field trips, competitions, proms, yearbook distribution, and year-end events. Many students felt disappointment and frustration, but most acutely, the graduating seniors. Their academic efforts felt trivial as virtual graduations were being planned and all “lasts” became non-existent.
The pandemic has etched good and bad memories in students’ minds. For better or worse, they revisit thoughts until the carpeting of memories is worn thin by continual mental pacing. Memories come out of experiences and the coronavirus epidemic, with the lockdowns and quarantines will forever shape their memories. Thanks to some caring teachers at Skyridge High School, senior students won’t feel insignificant, they will have memories of feeling important and cared for. On Monday, May 4, seniors were surprised with a personal visit from Skyridge faculty, administration, and staff as they delivered congratulatory yard signs along with graduation caps and gowns to every senior student.
Seniors received a second visit the following Monday as teachers hand-delivered special Skyridge Falcon face masks to wear if they choose when they walk to receive their diplomas.
“When Mr. Lewis and Mr. Griffith brought me my cap and gown, I was really excited to see them. Mr. Lewis was one of my favorite teachers; I always loved his class and getting to see both of them was awesome. I love how the administration set this up. I know it made the seniors feel very special,” said Skyridge Senior, Audrey Anderson.
Another senior, Macie Willis, said, “when my teachers delivered my cap and gown, I felt loved and not forgotten, just like the staff at Skyridge has always made me feel.”
Bowen Thomas was surprised and happy to have an opportunity to visit with his football coaches, Coach Lehman, and Coach Gleaves. Bowen said, “it was so nice to see them and talk with them. I felt remembered and I felt like they cared about me not just because I was a student but as a person.”
Efforts of the administration, faculty, and staff at Skyridge will leave a lasting impression of thoughtful caring, and that experience will not be easily forgotten.
Kami Willis, Macie’s mother, shared her thoughts, “as a mom it made me so happy to see the Skyridge staff take the time to show up personally to acknowledge my daughter and to deliver her cap and gown. It’s been tough on all the seniors, but that act of kindness made them feel not forgotten.”
Congratulations to the class of 2020. These graduating seniors have displayed strength and courage under unusual and historic circumstances.