Finally, after 6 long months, students are back at Orange Lutheran. We’re taking tests, getting to know our teachers, and meeting new people.  But, this year is very different.  Freshmen aren’t getting the traditional Ignite mentor experience and won’t really meet people on the other side of the alphabet.  Sophomores have just adjusted to highschool and now need to adapt to a whole new system.  Juniors are starting to think about colleges and need to meet teachers who can write them great letters of recommendation. Seniors are arguably the best equipped for this year, but we’ve also lost the most. 

After eleven years of schooling, expectations for senior year are high: senior prom, senior sunrise, senior trips, senior privileges.  Senior year is the last hurrah before the class of 2021 leaves to go out into the world where we will once again find ourselves at the bottom of the totem pole.  Seniors this year, however, have had their worlds turned upside down.  We don’t get dismissed to lunch early from Daily Gathering, we are sharing our parking lot with the sophomores and juniors, and we might lose our dances. In the face of such unprecedented circumstances, the Orange Lutheran class of 2021 have a whole new set of senior anxieties to keep track of. 

The majority of students have returned to campus in tier 2.  With this return, seniors, like Mia Snyder and Ethan Kaiser, have expressed their worries about improper mask wearing, Mia specifically stating she is worried students might use various “excuse[s] for ignorance” to not wear their masks.  Another senior, Haley Schweich, expressed her concern that the virus would spread once we return to school.  Many students are also concerned that they or loved ones might contract the virus.  Senior Preston Hayden stated that he is “not worried about [him] or [his] brother” but rather that he might end up “passing it to [his] mom or dad.” 

With the nature of the virus, a spike in cases seems likely.  So, what if we went back to completely virtual learning?  Seniors would lose their last year and would become the first class to deal with a full year of virtual learning.  Although daunting, this idea doesn’t seem to be completely horrifying to seniors.  Rather, seniors seem to be, according to Ethan Kaiser, “used to remote learning” and pretty well adjusted.  Some seniors, like Jessica Rahn, are even completely “indifferent” to their learning experience this year.  This isn’t the case for everyone, though. Steven Mara, one of OLu’s senior transfers, stated his biggest fear was that school would “go away” altogether, despite enjoying days where he doesn’t have to drive to school.  

Obviously, there is a plethora of different feelings and anxieties going into this school year.  Fortunately, it seems like our senior class has adjusted to our circumstances and learned to adapt and overcome.  Some students want a prom, and others are desperately hoping the sports are able to resume for their senior seasons.  But even with our differences, one thing remains true: we want to get back to some sense of normalcy.  Seniors, welcome back to OLu.  This is our final year, and we all want it to be great.  As the year moves forward, keep in mind that we have proven our ability to push through adversity and unprecedented circumstances, and remember to wear your masks to help keep us on campus. OLu on 2! 1…2…OLu!

Photo credits: The Orange County Register