(WTNH) — School trips, awards banquets, and college visits – all gone due to the coronavirus pandemic. For some graduating high school seniors, the lack of ceremony and celebration of their educational transition is a real bummer. But some are finding creative ways to celebrate these important milestones without having to get together.
“It’s definitely been difficult going back to mid-March when this all started,” says Meriden father, Mike Annino.
The pandemic forever changed senior year for high school students, a time that’s supposed to be filled with milestones.
“It’s certainly something they didn’t expect – missing out on all those senior moments you look forward to,” adds Officer Mike Finkelstein, whose daughter, McKayla, recently found a supportive sign, bearing a heart, in her front yard. “The principal went out one-by-one and distributed them which we’re so grateful for because it just shows the community spirit in Ledyard.”
It’s those creative efforts that will get kids through this crisis.
“The adolescent mind is really focused on the here and now,” says Dr. Ryan Loss of Connecticut Behavioral Health, who believes teens will experience real sadness about missing these important events.
“So, finding ways to still celebrate – with virtual ceremonies or parties – is significant. It creates a unique thing for them. How many other seniors are going to have prom pictures six feet away from their date, in masks? It’s a unique thing to look back on – something to say, ‘This is what it was like when,'” Dr.Loss says.
“Students have created Instagram accounts to celebrate one another and that’s where I think it’s been really special,” says Annino.
His son, Aiden, is a part of a team at Orville H. Platt High School in Meriden that are working on creative solutions if their traditional prom and graduation are canceled.
Support, strength and spirit all at play during this uncertain time.
“Yeah, they’re disappointed but it’s amazing to watch how strong they are in getting through all this and doing something that’s never been done before,” says Finkelstein.
While Dr. Loss says disappointment will dissipate in time, the future for these kids remains uncertain as their start of college – another pivotal moment – which still could be affected by the pandemic in the Fall.