A Glimpse of Masked Goodbyes

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A Glimpse of Masked Goodbyes

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Ever since I was a kid, I waited for the day I would get to walk across the stage inside a huge stadium to receive my diploma, with my family and friends watching. That day did not turn out quite as expected. My senior year began in August of 2020, during the height of COVID. No one knew when or if we would be going back to school in person. We lost football games, homecoming, the senior trip, and almost two semesters of getting to spend time in class with friends. We missed out on finally being a senior. All we could hope for was to be able to have more than a drive-thru graduation. Our class was lucky enough to be able to go back to school for a few months and we got to have an in-person graduation on the football field. Even though there were only just under 200 students per day over the course of our 4-day graduation ceremonies, it was definitely an experience I will never forget. I was grateful that I got to walk across that stage with my family watching. I was grateful that I got to watch my friends who I have known for years, and with who I began this journey, get their diplomas as well. This photo encapsulates the moment that we had officially graduated. As we went in for a masked-up embrace, I thought about so much I had to go through to get to that moment. All of the highs, lows, long nights up studying, fun school events, losing friends who were near and dear to my heart, and making it through what is supposed to be the best year of high school during a worldwide pandemic. It was a bittersweet moment, marking the end of one journey, but the start of the next. I do not know what the future holds, but I hope to never have to experience more masked goodbyes.

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This item was submitted on December 9, 2021 by Alexis Sotelo using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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