Not the rite of passage we expected


The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak didn’t hit home for us high school seniors until it literally “hit home.”

It was around noon on Friday, March 13, when we were informed that the state Class A basketball tournament was canceled, without declaring its champions. Only one person in the state had tested positive for the virus. Students at the tournament gathered in their hotel rooms, calling parents as they listened to the statewide announcement, anxiously hoping for better news, only to find out it was going to get much worse. We heard school was suspended, prom wasn’t possible and now we wondered what this meant for our graduation.

We never imagined that our lasts would be so soon. The spring sports season, the final competitions and performances for clubs, school trips, prom and graduation all seemed so close. All the things that were supposed to be our lasts – one last time to do what we loved. It was a buildup of 12 years of anticipation, only to be ripped away from us in a week.

We never knew it would be the last time we saw our classmates in the hallways or our teachers in their classrooms for weeks – maybe for the rest of the year.

Through all of this chaos, it helps to know that the class of 2020 is in this together. Many of us are going through the same experience, but we can all stay connected during these tough times with a click of a button.

I think it is OK to be sad. It is OK to cry and be disappointed. But we need to keep it in perspective. After all, saving people’s lives is most important.

We have to allow ourselves to put aside our own sadness and take a look at the world around us. There are people who are devastated by losing a job, their health or the worst – a life.

Even though we are not in school, we are learning. After this isolation, our friends and classmates will mean more to us than ever. We will value our family more. We appreciate the opportunities school and the world have given us.

Suddenly, the world is not as big as it seems. It’s mind-blowing that a virus smaller than a grain of sand can bring the world to its knees. But the world is connecting, learning and working to find a solution to COVID-19.

When we finally reconnect, we will be more grateful to hug, to dance, and hopefully, to walk across the stage and graduate.

Anne Kesler, 18, is a senior at Mandan High School. She plans to major in strategic communications at North Dakota State University. Anne is the daughter of Bill and Clarice Kesler, members of Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative.