School closings take the cap off high school seniors’ year

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With their high school’s doors closed, Henry Ford II seniors are left wondering what they’re missing in their final year of high school.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced March 16 the statewide closure of all K-12 schools. With that announcement, Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights, Michigan, bid students farewell with little direction for the upcoming days.

Students and teachers were unprepared. There were murmurs among teachers as to what was going to happen, but students were left in the dark. 

“We were anything but prepared,” said senior Grace Alaska. “It took a good week to just figure out how to get into contact with everyone.”

The move over to online classes for high school students is a little more difficult than  for college students. College kids have the opportunity to dabble in online courses throughout their schooling, but to most high school kids, online learning is a foreign concept.

“It’s not going very well for me because it’s very easy to procrastinate and get distracted by everything around you,” said senior Ashley Barney.

For some seniors, the switch to online is a little easier than sitting in a classroom. Online classes allow the students to work at their own pace and handle homework in a way that suits them best. 

“I honestly find it a lot easier since I can do it on my time and I’m not doing busy work,” said senior Evan Plets. “The transition feels weird, though. Kind of like a long weekend.”

Aside from school life and homework, seniors are missing out on making high school memories.

“One thing I’m going to miss the most is just simply seeing all my friends every day,” said Barney. “Even the people that I don’t talk to out of school but talk to in school.”

In addition to schools closing, all activities planned for the spring season are canceled. There will be no honors night, school plays and all spring sports are out of commission. Senior athletes are missing out on their final chance of playing in their high school uniforms.

“It’s very heartbreaking because this is what all of my hard work led up to, and now I had it taken away from me,” Plets said.

Seniors have received no word regarding prom cancellations or postponement of events left in the year. Although Whitmer said she expects schools to open once again April 6 if conditions become better, seniors are still unsure if they will ever get to experience high school life again.

“My district is still considering returning mid-April depending on the situation, so they haven’t announced any decisions regarding graduation,” Alaska said. “I’m extremely disappointed to be missing out on the fun senior activities like senior skip day and maybe even our prom.”

(Editor’s note: With classes moving online, some Michigan State journalism students are reporting about their home communities.)

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