Senior class members find ways to bond amid crisis


Chelsee Sawai

Seniors enjoy time together at Mid-Pacific’s all-school picnic earlier this school year. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the senior class is working to keep in touch and share memories.

By Erin Goya, Mid-Pacific Institute

Fifty-six million students in the United states attend elementary, middle, and high school, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. Of those 56.6 million students, 3.7 million of them are seniors who currently should be finishing off their last year in high school. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused schools around the nation to close for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, leaving those seniors with an ending to their year much different than they expected. . 

On March 24, Governor David Ige announced a statewide stay-at-home order and only a few days earlier on March 18, Mid-Pacific closed its doors to the faculty and students due to the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While online classes have resumed at Mid-Pacific, seniors are left wondering how their last year might end. Mid-Pacific has not yet announced plans for the end of year rituals such as graduation. In an email to parents, President Paul Turnbull announced prom would be postponed and possibly redesigned along with other events such as senior luau. 

I was really looking forward to finishing with my senior class; it’s hard to accept that these last couple of months, which is where every important thing falls”

— Marley Miyamoto

“I am really disappointed for all the seniors and parents, not only for our seniors, but for all the seniors,” said senior class advisor Byron Cheng. “To not be able to see your child graduate or to not be able to graduate and go through a traditional ceremony, I think that’s crushing.” 

Seniors have been working day in and day out for  years to get to where they are now. 

“This is a compilation of many, many years of work and waiting for all of these memorable moments,” said Carolyn Roscoe, senior  class advisor. 

Senior athletes also have had their final high school seasons cut short. 

Baseball player, student ambassador, National Honors Society member, and senior Nolan Tanji has been at Mid-Pacific for 6 years. He expressed his disappointment as the ILH canceled all spring sports. 

Tanji has played baseball for Mid-Pacific for 5 years.

 “I was definitely really disappointed and frustrated because it felt like we really had a good shot when going to states and maybe winning it. It was all that hard work for nothing,” said Tanji. 

Along with spring seasons being cut short, huge events like the spring dance concert have been canceled. This concert has become so much more than just a performance to the MPSA dancers, students said. 

Senior, MPSA dancer, and IB diploma dancer, Marley Miyamoto said she was devastated after news that the dance concert was canceled this year. 

“For the senior class, it is an MPSA tradition to have our senior circle where you get to go around and all the underclassmen sit around you,” she said. “You get the opportunity to thank your classmates, peers, and people you’ve been with, for some of us, since middle or elementary school,” said Miyamoto. 

Several members of the class of 2020 are worried about senior luau, graduation, project grad, prom, and the remainder of their senior year. 

“I was really looking forward to finishing with my senior class; it’s hard to accept that these last couple of months, which is where every important thing falls,” said Miyamoto. “It’s hard. This took all of the materialistic and physical experiences that we should have gotten,” she said. 

However, many of the seniors said they have been trying to keep the bonds tight as they finish their year. 

Senior Sophia Saiki has been working on a slideshow for the senior class. The idea sparked in her sophomore year but now more than ever, she has been working to put this together. 

“I decided I wanted to try and help my classmates remember how great our year was really even if it was cut short, and it’s a sort of a gift to them because I love them,” said Saiki. She said that it will help the class stay positive and allow them to be grateful for what they did get to experience with one another. 

Another senior decided to take initiative and keep the class connected. Kyler Saiki and Kui Gilliand decided to use Discord and share pictures with one another to stay in touch. Discord is a commonly used platform for communication for video games and has recently been used for online classes. 

“As soon as we realized how serious the COVID situation was going to be, and the high probability school would be closed after spring break, we wanted to find a way to keep the class connected,” said Kyler. 

Through it all, the seniors said they have been keeping in touch and trying to make the best out of the unprecedented situation. They wanted to emphasize to the class of 2021, make the most of everything that you have and nothing should be taken for granted. 

“If it all ends this way and we don’t get to come back, I have to say, it has been a really fun ride with these seniors. No regrets. Nothing at all,” said Cheng.

This story was originally published on Na Pueo on April 14, 2020.